I saw this fence of gold near Mitchell, Oregon last week. Aspen trees, decked out in golden leaves, looked like someone planted them at regular intervals within the evergreen forest.
On a recent trip to the Oregon coast, I was impressed by the contorted shapes of shore pines along the shorelines. The scientific name of this tree is Pinus contorta var. contorta. It’s a very fitting name.
Some shore pines are barely attached to rocky cliffs. This common tree of the coast tolerates salt spray and a wide variety of soils.
High winds are common near the shorelines and they sculpt these lovely trees into interesting shapes.
Others grow in 40-50 foot tall forests, constantly buffeted by the wind.
These resilient trees have adapted to living in a challenging environment. They twist and turn in an effort to find the best ways to survive.
Thursday Tree Love
Whatsoever is Lovely Week 27
When I’m out walking among the aspen eyes early in the morning, I always feel like somebody’s watching me. While Michael Jackson was referring to his fans or the paparazzi with those lyrics, I’m referring to the eyes of nature. These aspen trees watch over me, always making sure I’m safe. My many-eyed guardians are beginning to leaf out with their distinctive fluttering leaves.
Today I’m sharing a photograph of a Lost Forest pine tree processed three ways. The Lost Forest is a geographically isolated forest in the High Desert of Central Oregon. A visit to this unique forest inspired me to write a short story.
I’ll be showing how I processed this picture three ways with Corel PaintShop Pro 2021. Prior to trying out the various effects, I increased the contrast and vibrancy slightly.
The first two show the original and the same picture with a box camera effect. For this image I went to Effects>Photo Effects>Time Machine>Box camera. I was pleased how this effect enhanced details of the tree’s structure.
The second two show the original Lost Forest pine tree and the same picture with a warming filter effect. For this image I went to Effects>Photo Effects>Film and Filters. I chose the Warm earth tones option with an orange warming filter. This effect made the tree’s red bark stand out. The puzzle-like bark of ponderosa pines is one of their most interesting features. This effect also highlighted the bare branches better than other effects I considered.Continue reading
A winter aspen silhouette with a dramatic sunrise in the background photographed in Bend, Oregon. Spring is making an early appearance here in the High Desert and trees may be starting to leaf out soon.
Yesterday it was 73 degrees F here! Our high temperatures are usually in the mid-30s to 40s at this time of the year. We are having a weird, mild winter.
I saw this “it’s a boy” pine tree along the trail to Big Tree, the largest ponderosa pine of its kind, in LaPine State Park, Oregon. I may have walked right past this odd tree, but I noticed two teenage boys laughing loudly and pointing at it. They took multiple pictures to share with their friends. Their reaction to it was almost as funny as the tree itself! 😀
These bonsai trees in the Portland Japanese Garden were living works of art. We visited the garden in mid-October, when the colors of autumn were beginning to put on their show.
The first tree is a Japanese maple and it’s 35 years old. This variety’s foliage changes from green to shades of golden-yellow and red. This maple’s reddish bark intensifies in color over the winter months.
The second tree is a vine maple and it’s 75 years old. This type of maple is common in Pacific Northwest forests. Those growing in shade tend to have yellow fall color, while those in direct sunlight are more likely to turn orange and scarlet.
The third tree is a trident maple and it’s 30 years old. This maple is native to China, Korea, and Japan. It gets its name from its three-lobed leaves.
These streets lined with gold are along the highway east of Mount Hood in Oregon. I was there a week ago and the colors were spectacular!
The golden leaves along this road are mostly on aspen and larch trees. Larch is a deciduous conifer. Yes, most conifers keep their leaves through the winter–not the larch. See my post Western larch – A beauty in gold for more about these trees.
We also saw pops of red from the vine maples growing along this route.Continue reading
I saw these lodgepole pines on pilings next to a bridge crossing the Deschutes River. I was hiking the trail to Benham Falls but had to pause to marvel at these little trees. Trout swam around the pilings, providing a little extra fertilizer for this odd nursery.
Who knows why the trees settled there. They certainly found a nice piece of waterfront property with a view. 😉
This gigantic pine is Big Tree, AKA Big Red, the biggest Ponderosa pine, Pinus ponderosa var. ponderosa, ever recorded. It’s located in LaPine State Park, north of La Pine, Oregon. Though it lost 30 feet of its crown during severe storms, it is still the largest Ponderosa pine in circumference.
Here are some facts about this tree:
- Circumference: 28 feet 11 inches
- Height: 167 feet
- Crown spread: 68 feet
- Approximate age: 500+ years
- Board feet: 25,000
LaPine State Park Manager, Joe Wanamaker, gave insights about Big Red in an article in the local Source Weekly. He thought it was spared from being logged due to evidence of fire damage. This may have affected the quality of the wood harvested. Wanamaker also pointed out this tree is growing in an ideal location where water tends to collect in the soil from the nearby Deschutes River.
A paved, ADA accessible, 1/4 mile trail leads to this unique sight. Foot traffic around this much-loved attraction caused soil compaction that threatened its growth. A protective fence was constructed around it in the year 2000.
In this map of the park, from Oregon State Parks, Big Tree is located in the lower right corner.
I saw this loop-de-loop lodgepole pine growing alongside Firehole Lake Drive in Yellowstone National Park. Everyone drove right past it but I had to stop and take its picture. I wondered what stopped it from going straight up. It figured out how to grow around obstacles and keep going in the right direction. A lesson for us all.
The 0.4-mile Trail of the Whispering Pines winds its way through the forest near the visitor center. You get great views of pine trees, Lava Butte, and several nearby volcanoes. This path sits on part of Newberry Volcano, a 1,200-square mile shield volcano.
South Sister, pictured on the left above, is the youngest and most geologically active of the Three Sisters volcanoes. The mountain last erupted 2,000 years ago, but a “bulge” began forming in 1997. By 2001, the bulge grew to 9 inches in height and 10 miles in diameter. Its growth since that time has slowed considerably. Both South Sister and Newberry are regularly monitored for volcanic activity.
Snow-capped mountain ash berries are a delicious dessert for our feathered friends.
I saw this old oak tree at Newgrange, County Meath, Ireland last winter. I think they are one of my favorite trees without leaves. Look at those branches!
I saw this decorated tree near Sisters, Oregon. There was a nice contrast between the rough brown ponderosa pine bark and the delicate tufts of fluorescent green lichen.
I’m representing my feelings towards 2020 by showing it being struck by lightning. Yes, there were some great moments, but I’m glad to be saying bye to this particular year.
See how all the other western juniper trees around this tree are thriving? Can you see the sliver of blue in the distant sky? Once the dark clouds dissipate, we’ll have a brighter future where more of us can thrive.
Happy New Year!
I saw this visitor in the cottonwoods in Fields, Oregon. Great horned owls like to hang out in this particular stand of black cottonwoods. I was on the Circling Steens Mountain tour that’s a part of the Harney County Migratory Bird Festival.
The trees weren’t leafed out yet on this April field trip, but that made it easier to see birds. Cottonwoods like to have wet feet, as you can tell in this photo.
If you visit this area, be sure to sample one of the famous milkshakes at The Fields Station.
One of my favorite local trees is the western larch, Larix occidentalis. This conifer tree is unique because it drops its needles in the winter. Before they litter the forest floor, the needles turn a distinctive golden-yellow color. They stand out from the deep green shades of surrounding trees.
They have a delicate, almost lacey, growth form. Look at these needles radiating out in little groups of 15-30 on this branch. They are softer and more flexible than some of their pine tree cousins.
A home for wildlife
A wide range of wildlife relies on larch for food and cover. Squirrels feed on the cones and cache the seeds for future use. Songbirds nest and forage in their branches. They are especially important to pileated woodpeckers. This tree is an important food source for several kinds of grouse. Large mammals forage on the needles as a last resort since they are not as tasty as other trees.Continue reading