Not one of those many leaves belongs to the trees they cover. (English Ivy on native black cottonwoods in a greenbelt in southwest Seattle.)
Trees along the downhill side of Dexter Avenue draped with invasive clematis. (Spookiness assisted by negative clarity in Lightroom.)
A willow (probably) near the north end of Seattle’s Fremont Bridge, surrounded by invasive Himalayan Blackberry and English Ivy. I just love this kind of thing…
In The Seattle Street-Smart Naturalist, David Williams describes a walk along the south fork of Thornton Creek from its headwaters near Northgate Mall through various pockets of greenery to its confluence with the north fork and then to their outlet into Lake Washington. Inspired, I followed that walk myself a few years back and have returned to do parts of it again. It’s far from a well-established or well-marked route. Sometimes the creek goes through peoples’ backyards, and you must walk nearby streets until finding the next fragment of public land through which it flows. One of my earlier blog posts shows the creek emerging from passing under Lake City Way.
Anyway, this willow grows on the edge of one of the bits of untended land along the creek. The parking lot, and the building it adjoins, look untended to me, too. The branches that intruded into the parking lot’s airspace have been pruned, but that probably doesn’t bother the tree much. I understand that one way willows sprout is from broken branches carried downstream in floods.
Another one from Yesler Swamp.
Well, a few of you liked that last one, so how about this? For me, both are largely about the lighting, how it hides and reveals. I get a sense of mystery and drama, though this one feels more intimate, like the pines are cozying up to the light.
I love that name. Liquidambar, also know as Sweetgum, has star-shaped leaves and lovely fall color. It’s a fairly common street tree in Seattle. This photo is an old favorite of mine, from fall 2009. The dramatic lighting and the leaves, especially the heavily shadowed ones on the right, remind me of those old over-the-top landscape paintings, with lots of detailed, wild-looking vegetation growing around old ruins. It has received mixed reviews. I showed it when I visited a local camera club that I was thinking of joining. Their reaction was basically, “we don’t get it.” I mistrusted my own judgement about it for a while after that, but now I like it again. Maybe I’m deluding myself, or maybe people just have different tastes.
Beside Seattle’s Burke-Gilman bicycle trail, between 40th Ave NE and the Princeton bridge, there is a long, narrow swamp, only one tree wide. Flooded all winter, it lies in a dip between the raised bed of the trail and the slope behind some houses. Like Yesler Swamp and other local wetlands, it grows small, scraggly, mossy willows that look tough and unkempt. Here we see one or two of the trees along with someone’s backyard. I like the photo, but I’m thinking now that I should have included the edge of the bike trail on this side of the pool, just out of sight below the bottom of the frame.
A lot of the trees in the Yesler Swamp seem to grow more horizontally than vertically. I like the way all the trunks, branches, branchlets, and twigs fill the field of view here, sometimes looking more two-dimensional than three. (Technical note: it’s hard to keep all that fine detail from getting washed out in the bright sky. I rely heavily on Lightroom 4’s Highlights slider to recover the fine lines, then the Whites slider to prevent the sky from looking too grey.)
Poplars (I think) along the Sammamish River bicycle trail last summer. Starting as Seattle’s Burke-Gilman Trail, the route follows an abandoned rail line from Puget Sound, across Seattle, around the top of Lake Washington, and along the Sammamish River to Lake Sammamish for almost 30 miles of paved, flat bike trail (some of which has some pretty annoying root humps, but it would be churlish to complain too much about such an amazing resource). It passes two blocks from my house, and I’ve ridden or walked some piece of it nearly every day of the 25 years I’ve lived in Seattle. Signs appeared along the trail in the last year or so announcing that it has made the Rail Trail Hall of Fame, which is a little amusing but richly deserved.