Thursday, April 9, 2009

An Old Tree of Character

This ancient Monterey Cypress clings all by itself to the rocky cliffs above the crashing ocean waves below. Known as the "Old Veteran", it is probably the oldest cypress on Point Lobos, a small but very beautiful rocky peninsula that lies just south of Carmel and north of Big Sur on the central California coast. These guys can live a maximum of about 300 years, so this one must really be up there in age and considering the constant rough weather, it's truly a testament to survival that it can live here for so long.
Point Lobos one of those iconic locations for photographers... Edward Weston lived the last 20 years of his life just a few miles from here and produced many famous nature abstracts and landscape images in this location. His grandkids still live, work and teach photography in the area. You can find unique rocky beaches, birds, sea otters, sea lions and thick forests all along the many trails that wind around the peninsula and it's small enough to cover it all on foot. 
I'm sure many, many photographers have this same image in their collection, but it's the one you have to get if you shoot here.. then you can move on to some more original stuff! I have many from here and will come back to it from time to time.

"Old Veteran Cypress" - Point Lobos

21 comments:

Little Z said...

I love trees and this photo is so very beautiful. Love how you captured the colour of the bark.

(you live in a beautiful area *sigh*)

Emm said...

Oh, I didn't realise trees had a "maximum" amoount of time that they could live. I thought they just carried on growing.

Awesome photo!

Chrissy said...

It is beautiful. A remarkable subject and stunning shot, the colours are lovely

Gaurav said...

wow..!!! what a catch .. I just love this photograph.
Awesome photo.....!!! :)

Patrick said...

Mark i envy you :)

Here we have a 1000 yo cork tree but it's not as photogenic as your cypress.

Amy Lilley Designs said...

I just adore your work...between the owls and this magnificent tree, my jaw has officially dropped...have a blessed weekend...

Amy

wayne d said...

An amazing tree and a brilliant capture Mark. I photographed one when I was there in '83 (yep, that's 1983) and I think it was called 'Lone Pine'.......probably a different one and gone now. I was also fascinated by the myriads of butterflies there.

storybeader said...

great colors! WOW! Lived in Isla Vista, one summer in the 70s. We used to go to the coast and sit in the trees, watching the sun set, every evening! Hope the coast is still the same...

Michelle (artscapes) said...

Fabulous shot! Crisp, colourful and alive.... Love it!

earthtoholly.com said...

Wow! How beautiful that wise, old tree is, and your photo is so alive with color! Your photography is really amazing. :o)

roentarre said...

The colour and the texture in this image is truely stellar. I love the look of the image and the colour coming from the tree trunk itself.

A sense of serenity from your shot here

Lynda Lehmann said...

It's a gorgeous capture, Mark! Wonderful photo, however many times it's been shot before. The flow and textures of it are a feast for the eye, as are the warm and cool tones!

I think the landscape there must be similar to the rocky promontories over the sea, in Maine.

I'd love to see Pt. Lobos and more of Maine, as well.

betchai said...

it is an amazing capture of the cypress tree, really beautiful. it looks more like a wonderful piece of painting to me. the roots, the leaves, the branches, the rocks, the landscape, somehow looks unreal even though i know it is, you have such a great eye, i really love this photo.

Mark Alan Meader said...

EMM: maybe environmental factors come in to play here. That's the age that kept coming up in my research. This and one other spot nearby are the only "native stands" of this species.

Deb: This spot is pretty far north from Isla Vista/Santa Barbara, but that area is beautiful too. Don't know when you were there, but lots of wineries around that general region now.

Lynda: Haven't been to Maine for quite a few years(I'm a native New Englander) but I think there are some similarities, especially up around Mt. Desert Island.

Patick: my next one is WAY older, believe it or not... stay tuned.

Thanks to everyone for the input and kind comments.

Gregorio said...

All I can say is: Just awesome !!!
This is a wonderful shot.Trees and roots one of my favorite subjects.No one does it better than Mother Nature herself.

Thanks for sharing this awesome photo.

moresecretwhispers said...

the colours in this are incredible!

Erik said...

Amazing capture. I love the color and textures you caught. The lighting was just right. One of the many reasons I keep coming back to your blog.

Emm said...

Heh! I had to share this link and photo with you: http://johannesburgdailyphoto.blogspot.com/2009/04/baobab-tree.html

Check how wide that tree is! I think that is probably why I thought trees went on living forever!

Mark Alan Meader said...

Thanks a lot Erik.. good to hear from you.

Emm.. Wow! I had no idea those could grow so big.. doesn't even look like a tree. I guess being in that rich environment helps them as opposed to these here which have to endure a harsh life and survive by staying small.

Emm said...

I know! It is phenomenal!

Dagrun said...

Beatiful! Colour, composition (and placing of three ;)