Monday, December 03, 2007

Semi-obligatory Kloochy Creek Spruce photos

Kloochy Creek Spruce

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By now you've probably heard the sad news. The (locally) famous Klootchy Creek Sitka spruce finally snapped in half during yesterday's windstorm on the coast. For those unfamiliar with the tree (like, if you just, like, moved here from, like, California, for instance), it was (allegedly) the tallest tree in the state, and (allegedly) the tallest Sitka spruce anywhere, as proclaimed by the sort of people who care about those things. Even if neither claim was true, it was still a really huge tree, and a well-known one, being located in a park right next to US 26, on the way to the coast.

After the damage it suffered last winter, everybody knew the thing was sick and on its last legs, or roots, or whatever. Although that can mean anything from months to decades, with a tree of this size. I took these photos back in June during that big mini-roadtrip I went on, because -- believe it or not -- I'd never actually seen the tree before, and I've lived here basically my entire life. So I figured I ought to see it at least once.

I'm not entirely sure why we never stopped when I was a kid. I remember wanting to see it, and I think I asked if we could stop at least once or twice, but the answer was always no. My best guess is that my parents figured anything built around a single tree must be a tourist trap and therefore -- and here's the key thing -- expensive. Sort of like the Trees of Mystery, except singular, and not mysterious.

On the news last night, people were hauling away chunks of the tree as souvenirs. Being a county park and all, I'm not sure that was precisely the legal thing to do, but I can't say I'm surprised. At least none of the pieces have shown up on eBay yet. (I just checked.) Possibly that won't happen until power and phone service is restored out on the coast.

Kloochy Creek Spruce

Other photos of the tree (if you're interested) at GoLiNiel, Visit Old Growth Forests, tien mao's little read book, no fish, no nuts,, and The latter has a tall stitched vertical panorama from the base of the tree. I wish I'd thought of that. Not that I could've gotten that close anyway. Not safely or legally, at any rate.

Kloochy Creek Spruce

If you've ever tried taking photos of a tall tree, you might've noticed that getting it right is harder than you might expect. It's tall, and you're near the base of it. Point the camera up to get the whole tree, and the perspective goes all wonky, so that the tree looks like it's falling over backwards. Ok, I realize that's what eventually happened here, so the falling-over look was merely premature. But the tree wasn't actually leaning noticeably when I took the photos.

If, instead, you hold the camera flat, you just get the base of the tree and a chunk of uninteresting foreground. So that's not desirable either. People generally go with option 1 and call it good, and it's common enough that people have gotten used to how it looks. But it still isn't correct.

Your third option involves spending money for specialized photo gear. Either a tilt shift lens for your SLR, or you can go all out and get a view camera. Here's a photo of some redwoods with some tilt-shift action going on. It's not a perfect example of the genre, but at least the trees aren't all leaning backwards at crazy angles.

If you're using a little compact digicam like I was, you have no option three, and you're out of luck unless you figure out how to fake it in Photoshop or GIMP, and I haven't sat down and puzzled that out just yet. And if I did, and it turned out to be sufficient, that would mean one less specialized widget I'd have a good excuse to buy. So I'm not sure how avidly I want to pursue digital solutions.

Kloochy Creek Spruce

Kloochy Creek Spruce

Kloochy Creek Spruce

Kloochy Creek park

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