Into the Woods…

California Sycamore, Spring, Fog (Into the Woods), 2007/2023 copyright Douglas Stockdale –

When I first encountered the very old California Sycamore trees in Trabuco Arroyo that runs thru O’Neill Park, I found that it was kinda of strange in how these trees over the years and years essentially have ‘laid down’, but then keep extending their branches and growing outward.

Visually, these trees appeared even more mysterious when shrouded with the fog we encounter during the Spring months, which sweeps up the canyon from the Pacific Ocean coast. So when we have fog at the house, I enjoy the quick hike over and then down in to the arroyo to see what might be happening. In this case, I found a really huge California Sycamore that was spread over a large expansive area surrounded by the mist, which was my intended subject for this particular morning. Nevertheless, one sage photographic advice I remember, but not who the source is, that when photographing something, just turn around and see what else you might be missing. So as I was working my around the edge of the large old tree, I did complete a quick check of what things looked like behind me, which is when I saw this potential composition, above.

Initially, my composition of this woods was a full portrait of this new subject, at a distance to have the entire tree in the frame. Then there is another adage I recall for street photography portraits, maybe a quote from Gary Winograd; if you think you are close enough, then take a few mores steps closer. Which is what I did this morning, moving closer until I was practically inside this narrow pathway towards the center of the tree trunk, positioning myself so that the branches appeared to radiate from what might appear to be a pathway into the forest.

I subsequently found that a black and white version of my first subject fully captured my imagination at the time, while this image above, has still lingered in my memory. When I started working with cyanotype printing and printing a series of these local California Sycamores budding in the Spring, it was finally time to work on this photograph. And I am very happy I did.

The resulting image has an intriguing sense of mystery, which I also find myself thinking that this might have been similar to the spooky woods that Little Red Ridding Hood ventured into that eventful day…or maybe Snow White when encountering the witch who is extending her scary arms to embrace her…

Perhaps we still live too close to Disneyland… and the various Disney stories have overtaken me…which in a way may account for working with a more cinematic composition of this photograph…LoL

Above: California Sycamore, Spring, Fog (Into the Woods), Unique solar cyanotype print, 8″ x 12″ on 11″ x 14″ sheet of Revere Platinum rag in a Variable Edition of 5 + 1 AP

Cheers & make every day an Earth Day



 The Flow of Light Brushes the Shadow, an artist book from Singular Images Press, Fall 2022 release, $60.00 (CA sales tax for those residing in the USA) plus shipping expenses. Message me or singularimagespress@gmail for shipping details and PayPal invoice.

Note: The Artist Special Edition (book + extra print) is Sold Out.


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