The Solitude Tree – A Special Project – 2017
*** When you click the on the pictures, it will enlarge for you***
The Solitude Tree is a special project that I’m doing this year. Normally I would have this in my blog but I have decided to give it it’s on heading on the home page. I’ve done this because it will be easier to find for those who are following this project.
The aim of this project is to photograph The Solitude Tree for the course of this year, to show it through all of the seasons. So why am I doing this? Time will reveal that and I hope through my writings, through the images, that the question as to why will be answered.
I’ve had two outings with The Solitude Tree and these pics will be posted in the next 48hours.You will see this tree before the sun sets and I hope during the course of the 12 months that I will be able to do justice to this silent witness who observes nature at its best.
This project will run for 12 months and will finish on the day that I first posted the first pic of The Solitude Tree.
As a photographer, I find this project exciting, awe inspiring and it feeds my soul with mystery and gratitude. I have no idea what I will discover myself in this project. I have no idea what will dominate the landscape and only time will have those answers.I have no idea if there would be a single person who would follow this project right through with me from the beginning to the end.If there is one such person,then I’ll have a gentle contented smile on my face.
People are time poor so I do understand if people don’t have the time, but for those who will follow this project, let me thank you now for your interest, your enthusiasm and your support.
Clearly there are times when I’ll be away running my Photo Tours and clearly the images will be taken when I’m back home. I have no doubt when I’m away , that there will be simply awe inspiring moments that The Solitude Tree will observe and yet, the photographer will have to be patient and capture it when he is able to.
This marks the first shoot for The Solitude Tree. I had a concept in mind, I knew I had to find a tree that was to match the concept that I had . I spent a very long time looking, driving around where I lived.( 15 months to be exact) I traveled most of the dirt roads and in the end, I found it and although I traveled far and wide, it ended up being 10 minutes from where I live.
I knew that when I saw it, this was I was looking for. There were several factors that I had to have for this tree to become reality and there was no way I’d be compromising, hence the reason that it took such a long time. So it was important that I find this tree and on the 4th of January I finally stumbled upon The Solitude Tree as I have maned it. I knew then, that the project was up and running.
Making a decision to leave home to shoot the tree can always be a hard one as like life , sunsets and sunrise are all unpredictable.I have been shooting sunsets and sunrise for a very long time and there are three things that I have learnt over the years.
1.You can never predict with certainty if the sky is going to catch fire
2.When it is totally overcast, you can never say, ” It just wont happen”
3.If it doesn’t go your way, don’t be disappointed, have the mind set, that there is always tomorrow to look forward to and you’ll embrace the next one with a greater sense of expectation.
This picture and the ones that will follow were all taken on the same evening of the 10th and the contrast is amazing and although I have seen the unpredictable flourish beyond any expectation, it still blows me away how it all happens and I feel very blessed when it does.Why is that, well simply because I believe that every breath that we take is a bonus and a gift. Life is a gift that we have been given and yet it is always unpredictable so I’m thankful for the things that I get to see through the lens and through my own eyes when I’m not looking through the camera.
Before I mentioned that every adventure when dealing with the sun going up and going down is never predicable 100%. Where I live in relation to the tree is only about 10 minutes away from me although it took me such a long time to find it. I usually arrive at my spot around an hour before the sun going down if I’m aiming for sunset, morning shots will be different and they will start to appear when the conditions are right for me.
Out of my kitchen window I looked skyward and it was dark and stormy and this is reflected in the picture that you can see now as this was the first shot I took of the The Solitude Tree when i arrived.I love the drama in the skies and at the time it was raining on and off. I decided to go and in my haste to get in the car and go, I left my rain gear at home but there was no way I was going back. I just had to get there and see what was going to unfold.
Tonight’s lesson was invaluable and it really just drove home to me yet again that you just can’t have the attitude that you know it all when you don’t know what is the knowable.For me it’s like God teaches me again the lessons of life and I’m sure he will give me insights through the course of this project.I couldn’t but think to myself if He was saying to himself “Pete, check this out when you are doubting things’
The stormy skies give you a different mood to your subject and it also tells the story of The Solituide Tree. There are visitors to this tree and if you look carefully at this picture and previous ones above, you will see cows, calfs whom share this field also.
On the previous segment, I saw the calfs playing like puppy dogs, it was so cute and once again nature touches you in ways that brings your inner self out once again and its a reminder of the things we find adorable that at time we can forget at times.
When you think it couldn’t improve, I think God has the last laugh. Who would have thought that one would have gone from the first image, dark stormy and rain on and off to this shot. It was humbling to see the incredible shift in colours from the dark greys to the vibrancy of colour at the other end of the spectrum.
The kitchen window reveals all to me, well it is my guide, do I or don’t I. I decided to as I could see an awesome expanse of cloud but on the other hand it was moving in the wrong direction where the skies were running from The Solitude Tree and I thought to myself. Ummm I was undecided for a while whether to go but there was something within me that at times gets the better of me and I had this gut feeling that this was going to burn. I can’t explain it but I just felt this burning passion within. So it was back to the car. I travelled half way there and in my excitement, I forgot my second camera. Bum I thought to myself but there was no way I was going to turn back.
I think I had time to turn back to get it but things would have been a rush. When I’m shooting I like to arrive early,I like to be in the right frame of mind and I like to be able to be as relaxed as Pete can to take the scene in .
My tripod legs were playing up, they decide that they wanted o go to sleep on me and were slowly becoming less and did i have the tool to tighten them with me??? I must remember to leave this tool in my bag. The bag is becoming heavier and heavier. It is amazing how all the “little” things add so much bulk to your camera bag. I’m trying to cut down what I carry and when I think I have nailed it, things are added to the bag. That’s crazy is it not ?
Like with most of the sessions thus far, the final images make their statement and for me, it is God saying,’ Have one last look tonight of the free gift that you have and remember this. ” For me it is the lessons of life that come from moments like this. We all get so caught up with things that are not so important in life in the bigger picture of life.
If our health was to take a turn for the worse, we quickly work out what is important in our lives, we quickly see the futile things that we saw as important and we soon learn that the politics of life, being proud when we should be humble all come to the forefront and we finally get it.
My question is, why wait until that moment , take that out look now and we will start living in ways that we thought not possible deep within us as we would gain a clarity of peace that we thought couldn’t have been found before. When I’m out here, these are some of the things that I’m taught when I share the same air to breathe with the Tree of Solitude.
Never did I think that two nights in a row I would be blessed with another stunning sunset. It wasn’t just myself that was blessed but most of Adelaide and Yorke Peninsula with what I have seen on social media. I think it is wonderful that people of all ages can appreciate the wonder of nature.
Social media tonight has been bombarded with pics ranging from elaborate cameras through to the iphone. The pics were either taken from a ones back yard through to shots that were well planned.Pics were composed with thought and others were snapped with roofs, power lines etc in them. But it doesn’t matter as for me, what the over riding factor is, is that people were in awe with what they witnessed and ones spontaneous reaction is to get the camera out, the phone out and to snap away. It’s awesome that people feel compelled to snap away when they see creation at its best.It also displays that people still love the majestic scenes that we are presented each morning and evening when the sun either rises or sets.
Tonight I loved the lead up as much as the sunset itself.The skies were rocking, the skies were moving and the skies were alive and full of vitality and the dance was endless.
I take heart that people are moved by the immeasurable beauty that deep down we all adore which moves us.
Most will never see the dramatic change within an hour, hence one of the reasons of this project. In an hour light changes dramatically and within that change, moods are always changing, meaning changes and purpose changes and your taken on a journey that will always inspire you and cause emotions to stir and kindle a sense of awe which goes deep within us.The skies will always dance and the dance is eternal and never ending.Light is never constant, it is always changing and with that change comes life.
It doesn’t matter of you don’t achieve what you thought might happen when you are photographing. Tonight at the Solitude Tree it had the potential to fire up and lite the sky from one end of the earth to the other side. All the ingredients were there but it didn’t happen. Having said that I’m still happy with the moody shot that I still captured and there are times when you don’t get what you were hoping for and that’s like life.
You may not get what you were hoping for and yet, down the track you’ll be able to reflect back on that moment and see why. It doesn’t take the pain away of it was something that you had your heart set on but you will be wiser for it in time.
The Solitude Tree is like that for me. I see it almost every day and in many ways it is becoming my own crazy sense of communion with God. I stand and observe, I have chats with Him and in the process of all that, many things are revealed to me. There are times when it can be very emotional while there.
There are things that I still don’t understand within my own life in what has taken place, I have no answers for it, no answers for the special people whom I’ve lost over time, for the things that seemed certain that are no longer, for the promises made to you and yet in a flash, they are no more but what I do know is that life is to be live in fullness now. Letting go of the past is hard and yet vital for your survival.
Change is all around us. Nothing stays the same. The Solitude is an example of that. These images were taken on the same morning and they were only 20 minutes from the first image to the last image that was taken.
I went there hoping for a rainbow as things were coming together but it didn’t happen but thats ok, as in the context of time, there is another day. What I like about the first image as it hit me harder than ever before, is that no matter how dark things may appear to you, there is always a strip of light waiting to burst through. All you need to do is allow it in and the more you allow in, the brighter it will get.
You may have the shadowy areas appearing every now and again and that is life. No one has it all together. Many people may give that appearance but nothing could be further from the truth. We all have our difficult moments in life and yes, some have more than others.
None of us are exempt from it as this is life. This is how it is for all of us but the dark times don;t have to remain dark as we have choices to allow the light in. It doesn’t mean that there won’t be the shadows of life hanging around every now and again as that’slife but over time, the light will become more pronounced.
We just need to be open to it. I myself had a troubled childhood. My father was an alcoholic and at the age of 16 I found out that he wasn’t my birth father but rather the uncle I knew all of my life was my real father. My life is complicated but I share this just to let you know my writings are not based a pie in the sky stuff but come from deep within as like others, I’ve had my dark times.
At the age of 14 I made a promise to myself and God that I would never drink alcohol and to this day I haven’t. When you see the very dark side of it, and you see how the the media glorifies it and you know what happens behind closed doors, well that gives you a totally different out look on things in that area.
At the end of the day it is up to us to allow the light to take control and to move forward.
We are the ones that can control our own state of being to a point and if we can be strong end, we can turn our own mental state around. What I went through as a child I would not want to wish on anyone but at the end of the day, I took on the attitude that I wasn’t going to allow that to reflect on a negative attitude to life.
The final picture of the day, although not spectacular, signifies to me, we’ll always have the shadowy areas in our lives that we need to work on but overall, the light will dominate if we allow it and it will be splashed with form, light, texture and life.
On this night I went to see that The Solitude is doing. It was cold, freezing but I felt compelled to check it out. At this time of the year the sun sets to the far right of the tree and is not in the shot. If the sunset is dramatic enough, it will splash the colour across the skies.Sometimes it works and other times it doesn’t.
On this night it wasn’t dramatic but more gentle in its arrangement of colour and texture.
The seasons change and over the summer I have had brown grasses, they have all gone and all that lies there is dirt and with a touch of green coming through. Winter will bring its own delights and that is why I love photography as every season will bring you different clolors and with that comes different emotions.
It’s the simple things that bring me the greatest pleasure in life. You don’t have to spend anything but your time to enjoy what is above you. I’m loving my time with The Solitude Tree as I see it in all sorts of light. There are still some emotions that I still need to capture with The Solitude Tree that hasn’t happened as yet, but thats ok as it is always great to be standing out there and simply observing .
Have you ever stood in one spot for an hour or two and just opened your eyes to see what is happening around you? Not many people do. Photographers who are patient will understand what I’m referring to.
It’s when you are in one spot, knowing that you can’t move as you are waiting for the moment, that will encapsulate what you are hoping to capture. Sometimes that happens and other times, it an endurance test. As I stand there my eyes are always looking around, on the ground, above me, scouting the horizon and you’ll be amazed at what you see when you have nothing else to do. It’s rewarding on so many levels. You’ll also be surprised what is moving around your feet as most of us tend not to look on the ground.
I’m ever grateful that I have a deep love for the skies. Many will think it strange but for me , it’s just so inspiring to look skyward to see His canvas everyday.That’s the awesome beauty about what is above us, although it is above us, from a photography point of view, it actually make the picture complete in my eyes. Think of the many awesome photographs that are of landscapes that leave a lasting impression on you and would have an awesome sky which you may not even be aware of. Food for thought. To be continued….