The Elder


(Click on the image to see full screen view.}

The tree called out to us almost audibly and stopped us in our tracks. Yes, there were hundreds of other trees around, but this one had presence. And this one’s voice was quiet but commanding. It was clearly the elder tree of the forest - the master - the one that every other tree deferred to. And it possessed both vitality and tiredness.

This giant of a tree seemed unable to stop the slow passage of time as evidenced by the the bare white branches still attached at the bottom. And the limbs (bones) strewn around the ground at the bottom of the trunk looked like they had been undisturbed for many years. It all clearly suggested that this tree seemed to be in the latter days of its great long existence. But it wasn’t ready to give up yet. The bright green needles of the new spring growth gave away the energy still alive in this master of the forest. There was still life, growth, and something to offer, to all who would make the time to listen. We stood there for what seemed to be a long time and listened.

Sometimes I take photos and when I get back home the ones I thought would be great turn out to be just ok and sometimes the ones I don’t expect to be great turn out to be surprises. And then, occasionally, there are the images, where you just know as you see it, as you make the image, and when you get back home - it just works. For me, this was one of them.

This image may be just another tree photo for many of you, which is perfectly fine. But for some, maybe it will speak to you as it spoke to us - when we stood there and just listened and then made its portrait. Either way, I hope you enjoy viewing the image as much as I enjoyed creating it!

Brian ReitenauerComment
Canadian Rockies!

I just returned from a week of hiking and photographing in the Canadian Rockies with my college friend Rich. We spent five long days hiking and photographing - the sun rises at 5:45am and sets at 10:10pm in the middle of July and we were determined to see every bit of light every day we were there! It was an amazing place - you are constantly surrounded by high mountain peaks, emerald lakes, glaciers, pine trees, beautiful clouds, and clear mountain streams. We stayed more towards the Jasper end of the Rockies to avoid the Disney like crowds near Banff.

The scene above is from what might have been my favorite hike. We hiked a couple miles up the mountain until we got above the tree line and came to a signpost and trail junction. The trail went left and so did all the people. So naturally we went right and walked another mile or two in a beautiful high altitude meadow surrounded by peaks. The meadow was crossed by a small stream from melting glaciers and it gave the water needed for soft green grass and colorful wildflowers. We took a break and just sat for thirty minutes on the softest bed of mossy grass by the stream and just watched the clouds and shadows roll over the landscape. It was perfect.

The trip was amazing. We saw elk, bald eagles, two black bears and one grizzly bear (from the safety of our car), a coyote, mountain goats, and more. We washed our face and head in the coldest clearest mountain streams during long hot hikes. We hiked in warm sun and cool 75 degree air. We walked along lakes and streams that were emerald in color from the melting glaciers. We saw the glaciers of the Columbia Ice Field spread across multiple peaks. And we saw wildflowers everywhere. We were up and down the Icefields Parkway which is an amazing 100 mile road winding down the valley carved by the Athabasca and other rivers - completely surrounded by tall mountain peaks on both sides - for all 100 miles.

It’s no surprise I took a lot of photographs and you can expect to see some more in future blog posts as I work through them and select the best ones. If you are looking for an outdoor destination - I would highly recommend the Canadian Rockies!

Music In The Pines!

A trip to The Pinelands always brings the unexpected. This area of southern New Jersey is full of stories - from the home of the Jersey Devil to the dumping place for many an enemy of Tony Soprano. Usually for me, the unexpected involves just the natural world - the interplay of light, clouds, water and land in an ever-changing display of color. A friend and I spent a typical Saturday afternoon in the Whites Bog section of The Pinelands. By the end of the day, it became anything but typical. As the day ended, we were treated to mysterious and unexpected music in the Pines…

Music In The Pines!

It was closing in on 6pm and we were about to get the most beautiful light of the day. I couldn’t wait - three hours of hiking and scouting was about to pay off photographically! Except for one thing - the cloud bank that quickly formed on the horizon destroyed any hope of sunset and deep golden light.

After whining for at least twenty minutes, I decided that the photographic part of the day was over. So we packed up and started driving out. I took a slight wrong turn and we were soon lured in by the most unexpected of sounds - heavy metal music! In the Pines! It turns out the band Tallah was shooting a music video for their song, “We, the Sad”. We sat and listened to the loud music in what is usually a very quiet setting. They yelled over to us and asked if we wanted to be in the video, but we knew our hiking boots would make us look out of place and besides, we left our frown face robes at home that day! :) They were very gracious and let me take some photos of my own while they performed and shot the video. It was an incredible thirty minutes to cap the day. Thank goodness the clouds came in or we never would have seen this!

The Band Tallah

After the band was done with the video we talked to them a little and we watched them wrap up. I assumed I knew what heavy metal band members would be like. Yet they were normal people like you would find anywhere. With one exception - they are artists. They have a message and they communicate it through their music, their art. Some might not like it - just like some might not like impressionist paintings. But we should respect their skill, their work, and the fact they care enough to communicate. It was eye-opening in a way.

A big thanks to the band Tallah for letting us enjoy their performance. They were just signed by Earache Records and we were told the video shot in the Pinelands for “We, The Sad” would be online at the end of the month. For now, you can listen to the song here (it is extreme metal music - but have an open mind!) And many thanks to Paul Stamper who was producing the video and graciously allowed me to have some fun photographing this very unique event in the Pines! They all treated us well and allowed us to enjoy the evening with them.

Return to Hawk Mountain

It was time to go back. I hadn’t been to Hawk Mountain for a photo-walk in awhile and I had a specific idea in mind. I wanted to create some images with the mountaintop enshrouded in fog and cloud. I kept checking the “cloud ceiling forecast” to see when the cloud conditions would line up with a day off from work - yes, there really is a cloud ceiling forecast website!

Finally, I had my chance… the website said the cloud ceiling would be 600 feet early one Saturday morning - until about 11am. Knowing that the Hawk Mountain trails top out at 1500 feet, I knew I would have the conditions I wanted - as long as I got there early enough. I arrived at 7:15 and had the place to myself for a couple hours of solitude.

It was quiet except for the constant dripping of water from the previous night’s rain. There was no sound of wind in the trees, no sound of people who would come later in the morning. For now, it was quiet, I was alone, and I could concentrate on the feeling I get from a morning on the mountain.

The twisted branch immediately caught my eye. I made fifteen different versions, but liked this one the best - with everything seeming to radiate outward from the center rocks. I never get tired of Hawk Mountain and seem to find something new almost every time I visit.

Early Spring

My favorite time of year by far is Spring. I love to see the buds forming on the bare branches of the trees. In fact, if you are very observant, you will see the buds forming already in February here in the Northeast. But it is in late March and early April that they burst forth in all kinds of color. In many ways, this burst of Spring color rivals the color we see in Autumn.

The image above was from an early April morning just after sunrise. I was drawn initially by the simplicity of the branches with the pop of the red buds on the ends of the branches. The rising sun and cloudy sky reflected on the water behind this tree and the whole scene just said “early spring” to me.

It is now late April and we are racing through a beautiful Spring. The trees have traded their colorful buds for fresh green leaves while still showing the underlying network of branches. I really love that one to two week period where you get equal part leaves and equal part branches. And as we enter May, the branches will gradually disappear from sight until they outlast the leaves one again.

I hope you are all having a great Spring!

Brian ReitenauerComment
Floating Clouds

I was hiking at White’s Bog in the Pinelands on a breezy, early spring Sunday and I suddenly stopped in my tracks.  Bright white clouds racing against a blue spring sky grabbed my attention as they reflected off the still bog water. I had to work quickly since the clouds were moving and changing shape every ten seconds. 

I shot image after image - each one different than the one ten seconds ago, each one a unique natural composition.  Sometimes the water was rippling in the wind, sometimes the clouds were just randomly placed.

It all came together as the clouds formed a circle and floated on the bog water toward some branches and lily pads and into the frame of my camera.

Had I walked by five minutes earlier or five minutes later I might never have stopped.  Most of the sky was clear this spring day and I would simply have seen some sticks poking out of reflected blue water.  But I happened to be there at just the right time - when a small group of clouds put on a show that captured the feeling and lightness of an early spring day in the Pinelands.

Spring has finally arrived!!

More images of The Pinelands available at the following gallery link… The PineLands

Brian ReitenauerComment
A Sedona Sunset

I was in Phoenix for business and I decided to add on three days to explore Sedona for the first time. What makes Sedona a great town to visit gave me challenges for photography.  The town, full of shops, art galleries and restaurants, is nestled right among the red rock cliff walls.  It was challenging to find views and make images that did not include buildings. But once I figured out the orientation of the town and the surrounding red rock canyons, I spent my time deep in the canyons where a sense of wilderness could find me.

I was treated to an incredible sunrise and an equally beautiful sunset on Doe Mountain. I delighted in an overcast afternoon along Oak Creek Canyon walking among the chaos of a thick grove of leafless sycamore trees. And I spent a long day wandering up and over a high mesa top surrounded by even taller canyons.

By the time the trip was nearing its end I realized I had just scratched the surface of Sedona and will need to visit again (and again) to truly capture its beauty.

You can see a small collection of Sedona images at this gallery on my website...  On Location - Sedona.

I thought I would also add two fun pictures.  On the day I hiked to the top of Doe Mountain for sunrise, five hot air balloons rose into the early morning sky.  They came so close to me on the cliff top that I was talking to the people in the basket!  And second, I rented a red Jeep Wrangler 4x4 for the trip.  I took it on two really rough forest roads that were filled with rocks and mud.  I would definitely do that again!

Brian ReitenauerComment
My Favorites of 2018

Another year has come and gone - it seems like time is flying by faster than ever.  I hope 2018 was good for everyone and here's wishing everyone a great 2019!  As I have done in each of the last two years, I am publishing a page of my favorite images from 2018.  Check them out at the link below.

Link to Favorite Images of 2018.

The image that headlines this post is from the Pinelands of New Jersey and it couldn't be more appropriate.  2018 was the "Year of The Pinelands!"  I discovered The Pinelands early in 2018 and went there many times.  Marilyn and I drove our new Jeep Trailhawk through the sand roads and forests.  Rich and I did a six hour kayak trip down the Mullica River.  And Marilyn and I joined the locals for the Cranberry Festival in Chatsworth in the Fall!  :)  Almost half of the images on my favorites page are from The Pinelands!

I didn't do a big National Park photo trip this year due to some changes in plans.  But I revisited some old favorites like Hawk Mountain and Ricketts Glen and was not disappointed.  Six of my favorite images of the year are from these two places that hold special appeal for me.  It shows that even after multiple trips a year for many years, you can always see something new and different.

I told four stories this year.  I like the idea of short "photo stories" where a series of four or six or nine images share what some thing or some place looked and felt like.  I told a story of Winter Morning Light and what the snow looks like before the wind and melting erases it's beauty.  I told a story of walking one magnificent sunrise morning in The Wetlands of the NJ coast.  I shared the quiet beauty of the The Meadow on a late summer afternoon as the light constantly changed - still one of my all-time favorites.  And I led you all on a sunrise walk among the oaks on A California Hillside.  I hope you enjoyed them as much as I did.

Pulling these images together was a nice reminder of the year and it's a good way to look at the trends in my photography - and to learn from them.  Whether I get two or eight or twenty favorites, I I enjoy photography, it helps me see the world around me, and I love being outdoors!

Happy New Year!

Brian ReitenauerComment
A California Hillside

In early November Marilyn and I went to Sonoma on a wine country vacation with friends. I was still on East Coast time and woke up at 5:30 every morning. Instead of tossing and turning and trying to go back to sleep, I got dressed, grabbed my camera and went to a nearby woodland in the northern California foothills. I spent three early mornings walking and wandering through this oak covered hillside as the sun rose and its light filtered through the oak trees.

I know - who goes on a wine tasting vacation and rises before sunrise to go hiking each morning? It wasn’t my original plan but I am very happy I did!  I have always loved the twisted and gnarled branches of California oaks and how they rise out of the dry golden grass of the hills.  Add in the beautiful sunrise light and each morning was magical. 

One of the things I enjoy about photography is when I explore a small area and truly see it. I definitely love going to big exotic places like our national parks. But I get just as much enjoyment - and maybe more - by spending time and truly exploring and photographing smaller areas. This small preserved woodland was just 1.5 miles long and less than a mile wide. But the combination of light from the rising sun, color from the grasses and leaves, and lines from the trunks of the oaks was truly captivating. 

A short photo story of six images is shown here, on A California Hillside.  Click on the link and experience those three sunrise mornings among the oaks like I did.  Enjoy!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays everyone!

And don't look now, but the days are getting longer!  It's December 21st - the shortest day of the year.  Starting tomorrow we have extra daylight every day to be outside enjoying nature.  Soon it will be Spring!  79 days until Daylight Saving Time!  ;)

Brian ReitenauerComment
Five Years!

Five years ago on December 4th, I wrote my first blog post on this (no longer) new photo website. I used to display my photos on Pbase and I would send out an occasional e-mail about three times a year when I published a new gallery of images from a far away location. With the blog, I wanted to do something that would allow me to share photos more often - and push me to photograph more often. In true “type-A” fashion, I only missed one month in the last five years - and that was almost on purpose to ease the pressure.

In the last five years I have continued my trips to National Parks. But I have done more photography on an ongoing basis close to home. And that is the most rewarding photography to me. I love the traveling and seeing new places - that won’t stop. But I really enjoy finding the extraordinary in ordinary places.

And so what better way to celebrate five years of “seeing” than a new image from Ricketts Glen - one of my absolute favorite places. It’s close to home. It’s somewhat ordinary - it’s not National Park status. And yet it’s also extraordinary, every time I spend a day there wandering through the glen. I have been to Ricketts Glen two to three times a year every year for a long time. And yet, every time I go, I see something new.

Join me for the next five years as I try to see and share the extraordinary in the ordinary world around us.

Brian ReitenauerComment
A Walk In The Wetlands

I’ve always been fascinated by the wetlands - the area where land is slowly and gradually giving way to the sea. It’s not like the great cliffs in Acadia or on the west coast in Big Sur - those are much more dramatic. In fact, it is said there is no greater meeting of land and sea than Big Sur. But I would argue there is equal beauty in this more gradual transition - where the land gently gives way, over great distances, to the sea. You get an incredible mixture of field, marsh, and water. Add in the dramatic sky of a beautiful sunrise and it is irresistible.

This is what greeted me on my first trip to the Forysthe NWR along the southern NJ coast. I left home at 4am to travel there for sunrise. I was concerned that the clouds from the previous night’s clearing storm would obscure the sunrise too much - I should not have worried - it was perfect. The rapidly changing clouds created endless light patterns on the landscape and it was all I could do to keep up.

This area is also very well known for two other things - migrating waterfowl and biting green flies! I could not go more than ten seconds without swatting one of those darn things off me - the biting flies, not the waterfowl!

This area is also part of the PineLands National Preserve that I have been exploring as well. Here is a link to a short photo story with nine images of The Wetlands. Enjoy this Walk in the Wetlands with me. and see what greeted me that wonderful morning.

Brian Reitenauer Comment
Ancient Symbols

The sunset this day was magnificent - there was just the right mix of sun and clouds to make the sky look incredible - far better than the last couple afternoons when a stubborn layer of flat clouds blocked out all interesting light. The sun was bathing everything in the warm golden light of early autumn.

Yet, I couldn’t help staring down - down at the water. More specifically the reflections of broken trees and clouds in the water. They appeared to me as ancient symbols or writings - but only when viewed from the perfect angle. At first glance - it’s just a big lake with a lot of tree stumps sticking out of the water. But after a while, in a couple places, the message seemed to snap into place. The clouds and trees and shadows arranged themselves into something that looked like a set of symbols from a time long ago.

This is another image from my explorations of The Pinelands in NJ. You may be seeing a lot of photographs from this place in the coming months - I really enjoy the marsh, wetlands, trees and water that make up this National Reserve. I have a couple more I really want to share, but I need to pace myself! I don’t want to get placed on your spam lists!

Brian ReitenauerComment
The Pinelands

I discovered the NJ Pinelands earlier this year. Ok, they were discovered hundreds of years ago and long before my time. But I found out about them and started exploring them earlier this year. I was immediately hooked - what a stunning area of wilderness right within the most populated area of our country. The Pinelands have been set aside as a National Preserve and they are worth protecting. It is a combination of pines, hardwood trees, sand, marsh, rivers, and wetlands that are incredible to see. If you want to escape the stress of everyday life, spend a day wandering around the trails of the Pinelands.

I have been there hiking and photographing many times this year. Marilyn and I spent an afternoon driving through the sand roads in our new Jeep Trailhawk and we had a great lunch by the Batsto River. Rich and I did a 6 hour kayak down the Batsto River. I plan to go back many more times.

It was a cloudy day last Friday (what else is new given the incredibly wet summer we have had), and I was hiking one of the trails along the Batsto Lake. When it’s cloudy, it can be a bit spooky there - gnarled twisted trees covered in lichen, mist floating in and around the trees, and very quiet. I saw this tree and bright green leaves growing out of an old decayed stump, surrounded by the clouds on the still lake. I knew it would be the best image of the day.

Stay tuned, I’m sure you will see many more images in the future from this new place I “discovered”!

Brian ReitenauerComment
A Preview of The Wetlands

My wife and daughters have gone to the Jersey Shore every year for many many years. And occasionally they allow me to come along. I’ve always loved that last stretch on the Garden State Parkway before you exit for Ocean City - it’s usually late afternoon or early evening and the golden light on the marsh grass tells us the beach is near!

I’m not sure why it has taken me so long to decide to do some photo exploring at the Jersey Shore. I do have a nice collection of images from the Ocean City area, but I consider that a work in progress.

Earlier this summer, I woke up at 4am and left my house with enough time to get to the shore by sunrise. I aimed for the Edwin Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge. It had rained the night before and the clouds were still around at sunrise. As usual, I was whining to myself the whole drive down about how the overcast skies were going to spoil the sunrise. Well - they didn't - the sky was magnificent and I was greeted by flowers blooming in the marsh, birds wading in the water, and endlessly changing cloud patterns and light. The image above is a hint at the small portfolio I hope to share with you soon.

Brian ReitenauerComment
Back to the Glen

By now I think you all know that Ricketts Glen is one of my favorite places.  In mid-summer I made my second visit of the year.  And while I'd like to say there was some special "calling" that brought me back, it wouldn't be true.  I bought some new camera gear and thought what better place to try it out than Ricketts Glen.

What I learned is that you can take just as many bad pictures with new camera gear as you can with old gear.  I was so excited with the new camera that I practically ran through the park - snapping away at anything that was vaguely interesting - not really thinking at all.  It's exactly the opposite of what I should do - I have worked hard at slowing down when I go out to photograph.  It seems like I forgot all those lessons.

After returning to the car and getting ready to leave, I didn't feel good about the visit.  I knew it wasn't a great one.  I decided to stop by one waterfall located at the very bottom of the park - away from where most people visit.  I slowed down, sat awhile, and just settled down.  That's when I noticed the color - the red of the rocky stream bottom, the green of the reflected leaves, the white of the moving water, and the blue reflection of the sky in the distance.  The hour I spent in this one small part of the park made up for the many hours hours rambling about earlier in the day.

Brian ReitenauerComment
The Meadow

The Meadow at Longwood Gardens is a special place for my sister.  So I thought I would tag along for a visit one recent afternoon.  I've been to Longwood Gardens before and really like the place.  But I wouldn't do "meaningful photography" there - after all, it's a "flower zoo".  Ahh, but the meadow is different.  It's a wild place in it's natural state - full of colorful grasses, wildflowers, and insects.  There are so many shapes and colors - and it all changes as the light changes.  You see the soft blue-greens that come from cloud cover and shade become transformed into the yellow-greens from the shining sun.  I can imagine this place changes every day too, as the seasons progress.  I can't wait to visit again as autumn approaches. 

The image above and the two below are just a part of the variety I saw in a single weekend.  I have a short photo story of The Meadow on my website that you can see by clicking on the link. 

Enjoy this short walk through The Meadow!


A Summer Walk

It was a very hot weekend in early July - almost too hot even for me to be outside.  So I thought it would be great to spend an afternoon walking in the shade of the forests of the Pocono Mountains.  Our daughter Gina is home for the summer and decided to come along for the hike.

It was an adventure just getting there.  We got on the highway and immediately came to a crawl.  It took an hour to go one mile!  We should have turned around.  But we kept going and eventually got to the Poconos - heading towards the waterfalls of Childs Park.  But the sign said Childs Park - closed.  That didn't make sense - it's summer - it was obviously a mistake, so we kept going.  We passed two more signs saying Childs Park was closed - they really need to update those signs and give current information.  Otherwise people could waste time driving.  We finally got to Child's Park - and you guessed it - it was closed due to damage from the Nor'easters in March. We should have turned around.

We certainly didn't drive this far just to turn around.  So we backtracked a little and pulled into the Pocono Environment Education Center (PEEC) and decided to hike one of the trails there.  After whining a little about not being able to see the waterfalls at Childs Park, I decided to enjoy the walk we were on.

We came across a calm scene where the slow moving stream tumbled over moss covered rocks down a small gorge.  Really, it's only about ten feet high - not a dramatic gorge but somehow beautiful in it's simplicity.  The light was filtering through the trees landing on some of the moss and turned it into a place where I could have sat quietly for a couple hours.

It ended up not being the hike I planned - it ended up being better!

Time Traveling

A few weeks ago we traveled back in time.  We traveled back hundreds of years - and spent a week in storybook villages in the French countryside, that we had no idea existed in real life.  It was a feast for our eyes, with color in every direction, straight out of a fairy tale.  Yet it existed in real life, in 2018.

Our daughter spent six weeks studying abroad in Strasbourg France which is in the Alsace region. This small area of land between the Vosge Mountains and the Rhine River on the border between France and Germany has been fought over for hundreds of years. It has alternated many times between French and German control and it shows in the culture, the food, and the architecture. We visited our daughter for a week and enjoyed the area far more than we ever would have expected. 

The image above was taken from our home base of Strasbourg. This is a view of the rooftops as we climbed the tower of the 800 year old Cathedral of Notre Dame of Strasbourg. It really did look like that. All the little openings in the rooftops are from the days of making and drying leather. We spent time in villages that were the real-life inspiration for Beauty and the Beast, we drove through rolling vineyards, we explored a castle high atop a mountain ridge, and we ate more bread and cheese than you could imagine. 

If anyone is planning a vacation to Europe and you want to see something other than the big cities like Paris and Rome and London, add Strasbourg and the Alsace region to the list and give yourself plenty of time. You will love it!

Spring Dogwoods

There was a five day stretch in early May when it seemed like all the dogwood trees in the world bloomed at once.  We went from a winter that just wouldn't quit to flowers and leaves bursting from the branches.  

I've always liked the early part of spring when you see the fresh varied green of young leaves on the trees, but you can also still see the branches.  This fleeting view only lasts for about two weeks.  In the summer, the canopy of mature leaves covers the entire tree in solid green and hides it's inner branches.  But for a couple weeks in spring, you get fresh shades of green connected by a network of twisting branches.  Add some rain and those branches get darker and share equal billing with the green of spring.

I visited this same small woodland two years ago and posted a dogwood photo in the May 2016 blog.  As I was driving to the location in the morning, I wondered why... since I had already seen everything and photographed everything there.  Towards the end of my morning, I remembered the tree I photographed two years ago and saw that it was completely different - some branches died off and others were blooming.  And because dogwoods are such fragile trees, the swirling shapes made by the white flowers seen from a distance were different than they were two years ago - because of the natural growth and death cycle of the trees.  It was a reminder that everything changes - the trees, the weather, the light, and the person observing or photographing.

I was glad I spent a couple hours that cloudy morning looking again at things I had seen before.  Try it - you might be surprised too!

The Spring Sycamore

"We want to know all about their leaves and colors and growth. But we also want to know who they are when stripped of the surface show.  You can see the underlying essence only when you strip away the busyness, and then some surprising connections appear."

-- Ann Lamott, Bird By Bird, 1994

Early spring days are bright.  The sun is high in the sky with strong, direct light and there are no leaves yet on the trees to cast any shadows.  And so everything just looks bright and crisp and clear.  

This sycamore is on my regular cycling loop and I see it 4-5 times a week, every week, throughout the year.  I see it on sunny days like this, and I see it on cloudy days.  I see it in the summer covered in leaves, and I see it in the winter against the flat grey sky.  But I think it's at its grandest in the early spring with the strong sun lighting the stark white branches against the clear blue sky.  To me, the unique character of the tree comes from the twisted branches, mostly white, but with some grey/green mottling from the peeling layers of bark.  

A couple weeks ago, on a bike ride on a sunny day, I made a mental note to photograph this tree - in the morning, on a cloudless blue sky day, in the early Spring.  I have hundreds of mental "photographs" of this tree in my mind - each slightly different from the hundred times I ride by in a year.  I knew the spring conditions would show the sycamore the way I see it in my mind.  It would "strip away the busyness" and show "the underlying essence" of the tree.  

And the best news of all... there is no snow in this photograph!!

Enjoy Spring - it is finally here!

Brian ReitenauerComment