“Hilltop Worship” has been a TreeSpirit signature and logo image. I feel the womens’ energy moving up to the tree, and the tree in turn is curving down to meet them, recording a relationship of adoration and reverence older human cultures used to have for all trees—and we still can rekindle today.
Reviving our awareness of all the many, precious gifts of trees, from their physical and ecological contributions, to their spiritual inspiration and emotional nurturance, trees continually offer us the chance to deepen our appreciation of life, this is a key mission of The TreeSpirit Project.
Atop the western slopes of Marin County, California’s Mt. Tamalpais State Park, this Live Oak grows overlooking the Pacific Ocean. I had scouted this location, which is to say this tree and several other possible trees nearby, as well as the surounding land to obtain this angle and perspective with a long telephoto lens.
Come the summer day of the shoot, the summit road was unexpectedly closed to vehicles because of very dry conditions and fire risk. (One cigarette out one car window could ignite the mountain top.)
At first frustrated by this unexpected delay after weeks of planning and coordinating schedules, we decided to instead hike up the last few miles rather than abort. We soon realized the gifts we received from this unexpected blockade: we not only enjoyed the lovely walk up to where this oak grows, but then realized we had the place to ourselves.
Although I often chose Black & White for my earlier images for how it emphasizes form and therefore the similarities of human and tree, this day I chose color film to capture the power and punch of the bold golds, blues, greens and whites this beautiful landscape — and treescape.
The attraction of this image reached across an ocean, all the way to Italy: