When Great Trees Fall

“When great trees fall,

rocks on distant hills shudder,

lions hunker down

in tall grasses,

and even elephants

lumber after safety.


Black and White, Monochrome, Landscape, Tree, Abstract, Nature, Photography

Dark Morning


Black and White, Monochrome, Landscape, Tree, Abstract, Nature, Photography

Angel Oak


When great trees fall

in forests,

small things recoil into silence,

their senses

eroded beyond fear.


Black and White, Monochrome, Landscape, Tree, Abstract, Nature, Photography

California Oak


When great souls die,

the air around us becomes

light, rare, sterile.

We breathe, briefly.

Our eyes, briefly,

see with

a hurtful clarity.

Our memory, suddenly sharpened,


gnaws on kind words


promised walks

never taken.


Black and White, Monochrome, Landscape, Tree, Abstract, Nature, Photography

Southern Live Oak


Black and White, Monochrome, Landscape, Tree, Abstract, Nature, Photography

Oak in Sonoma


Great souls die and

our reality, bound to

them, takes leave of us.

Our souls,

dependent upon their


now shrink, wizened.

Our minds, formed

and informed by their


fall away.

We are not so much maddened

as reduced to the unutterable ignorance

of dark, cold



Black and White, Monochrome, Landscape, Tree, Abstract, Nature, Photography

Redwoods Rising


And when great souls die,

after a period peace blooms,

slowly and always

irregularly. Spaces fill

with a kind of

soothing electric vibration.

Our senses, restored, never

to be the same, whisper to us.

They existed. They existed.

We can be. Be and be

better. For they existed.” 

~ Maya Angelou


Black and White, Monochrome, Landscape, Tree, Abstract, Nature, Photography

Eucalyptus Reaching




A Face

Categories: Black and White, Flowers, Plants and Trees, Landscapes, Nature, PhotographyTags: , , , , , , ,


  1. WOW, all of this pictures are stunning! I love them all, but the “Angel Oak” is extraordinaire beautiful!!
    Warm regards, Heidi

  2. Beautiful, Jane! It’s amazing to see the one tree with the branch almost lying on the ground.

  3. A magnificent and elegant series of photos and truly heartfelt words.

  4. The backlighting you captured on Angel Oak makes for a beautiful view of that magnificent tree..
    Deep, soulful words & images.

    • Thank you, Diane. They matched my mood at the time. I’m glad you like Maya’s words and the B&W conversion of Angel Oak…had never worked it in monochrome. Hope all is well with you.

  5. Oh my! Sensational and soulful images!

  6. these are gorgeous!

  7. Superbe série…L’ensemble des clichés est très graphique !!! Bien joué !

  8. Those are awesome trees. You get starstruck when you think about how long they have existed to get this being and beautiful. And your photos make them proud. Simply gorgeous black and white images.

    • Otto, Your reaction means a lot to me and I agree, the history that they have witnessed is awe-inspiring. I am rather obsessed with their shape and form. Very pleased that you enjoyed this series– thank you so much.

  9. Fantastic collection and a impressively text.
    I like these charismatic trees.

  10. What a gorgeous photo essay, Jane. Maya Angelou’s elegant and soulful words are a perfect match. I was fortunate to meet her many years ago after a talk at the Kennedy Center. She was surprisingly tall. Her warmth and graciousness were amazing. I’ll never forget her. I’m not surprised that her writing touched you deeply.

  11. All very nice, Jane! That is a great image of the ancient Angel Oak and the sky up through the Eucalyptus is moving!

  12. stunning Jane…I can feel the power ~ smiles hedy 🙂

  13. Fantastic set of trees. but it has to be the Angel Oak for me, Jane

    • Thanks so much, Mike. Angel Oak is amazing(500 years old) — near where I used to live in SC. I hadn’t converted some of my shots to monochrome until recently and I thought it showed off her beautiful shape. Glad you enjoyed them.

  14. Dreamy picture set! Great pictures.

  15. A lovely tribute to the beauty and strength of trees and humans, too, Jane. The steady words of Maya Angelou were the perfect accompaniment for your outstanding photos.

  16. As I sit watching waves crash on the shore, your photos and Maya Angelou’s poem, moved me, Jane. Thanks for the good reminders about shooting straight up, wide open. I’ll have a chance to practice on a giant Banyan tree over the next few days.

  17. Moving series. Some of those trees are like beautiful carved columns serving as supporting construction for the roof of the temple of Nature.

    When I lay down on the grass, looking skyward through the branches, I like to image that the branches of a tree are their real roots. They seem to be deeply embedded in the sky extracting energy from the firmament.

    A fallen tree : https://marceloleonard.wordpress.com/2014/11/17/101/

  18. Great images! There’s something in an old tree that touches the soul!

  19. Souls maybe weak when body itself are lack of sleep and rest regenerating power in bed sometimes needed …beautiful post Jane 🙂

  20. Wow – those shots are just amazing! The images and words resounded with me.

  21. You have captured the beauty and splendour of these magnificent trees and putting them into silhouette gives them a feeling of mystery. What a beautiful and meaningful poem to accompany them. Love this post Jane

  22. It’s been a disturbing time…beyond words, but Angelou’s poetry is a good touchstone…and your photographs of trees. What is it about trees? And oaks especially, how I love them. I used to go to the Georgia coast every Spring, each year another chance to venerate those graceful live oaks. But the Angel Oak! I hope I can spend time with that tree before too long…a beautiful post, Jane. (Did I tell you I’m going to see the Redwoods in April? Can’t wait!).

    • Thank you, Lynn. I was working on a post of blooming mustard and my mood just wasn’t matching their vibrance. I’m so glad we share a love of trees…living in SC for years gave me some good subjects and now I am often on the quest for CA oaks. So glad you are visiting the Redwoods! I love their quiet beauty…such a challenge to photograph. 🙂 Appreciate your thoughts, as always. Safe travels!

      • I’ve had that experience of working on a post that doesn’t match your mood, and saving it for another time, so I hear you. As for photographing redwoods, I really don’t have great expectations – but I’m curious – what was the focal length of your redwood photo here? It succeeds at showing the grandeur, it’s really nice.

        • Hi Lynn, I’m glad you know what I mean– photos are so emotional. I shot this image a while ago with an 18-55mm Nikon lens at its widest (in this instance, would be 27mm with the cropped sensor on the Nikon I was using) Lately I’ve shot them wide with my 24-70mm at full frame with nice results. I find in the groves that my most successful are wide looking up, or wide vertical with foreground and also, using my 70-200mm, close ups of a group of trunks and detail shots (your specialty) of the trees and understory of ferns and clover. The groves can be quite dark (and dusty!) so I do use a tripod. Good luck and enjoy. Looking forward to your images.

          • This is great information and advice, Jane…unfortunately, tripods an I don’t get along…I have one but never use it…we’ll see on that one, but just knowing to plan for a darker kind of light is helpful. 🙂 Dusty, well, maybe that will provide a hazy atmosphere. Something else to work with! I know it’s not an easy place to work. It’s interesting to hear what’s been most successful – and it all make sense. The best part, undoubtedly, will be the feeling of being there.

          • Indeed…it’s all about being there in the quiet cathedral of trees.
            PS I struggle with my tripod, too. A love/hate relationship. Luckily you can jack up the ISO on newer cameras with great success. 😉📷

  23. wonderful. MYSTERIOUS shots….love the different personalities of each…gorgeous!!

  24. Impressive picture from the Angel Oak. Amazing in b&w.

  25. Wonderful images. I particularly like the Redwoods Rising.

  26. I loved the beautiful pictures of the trees ( especially Angel Oak) with Maya Angelou’s beautiful words. I really felt like i could hear her unmistakable
    voice reading as I looked at the pictures and as I get older(?) the words mean so much more.

  27. Beautiful images accompanied with wonderful wisdom. Thank you Jane for sharing.

  28. LOVE this post, Jane– it’s fabulous!

  29. Jane, these are absolutely beautiful!
    I especially love the redwoods.
    They are such magnificent trees.
    Have a wonderful weekend!

  30. These are amazing, Jane! The monochrome really brings out the textures and forms of these wonderful trees!

  31. These tree photos are accompanied with Maya’s poem perfectly. So beautifully done, Jane!

  32. You may want to read the Wish Tree. It’s a middle grade book, but I think you would appreciate it. Oaks are wonderful, so majestic and beautiful. Makes me want to climb them.

  33. Wonderful post Jane. Your photos and Maya Angelou’s words, just beautiful!

  34. A perfect union of photos and words. You fill the spaces with a soothing electric vibration!

  35. I just saw Angel Oak a year ago for the first time. Magnificent, and wonderfully captured. I have to admit the words paired with these images put me in a panic~”OH NO! Are these trees dying???” Surely not?

  36. Beautiful trees, Jane, especially the Angel Oak. You captured the volume of the tree as well as showing the graphic beauty of it’s lines.

  37. Ah the beautiful Angel Oak Jane – we do so love her! Your use of Maya’s poetry was wonderful with your choices this week.

  38. Your black and white photos are gorgeous !

  39. The large, old trees are both elegant and magnificent. I always enjoy your work.

  40. Such a beautiful post for this challenge, I love trees, especially in winter when their structure can be easily seen. You have done them proud.

  41. Excellent words by Maya and gorgeous images to pair with the text Jane 🙂

  42. Jane, what a powerful post. The photos support the text beautifully. I especially liked Dark Morning, maybe because I’m sitting here in the dark.

  43. Jane – straight to my heart, this post. The Angel Oak is – an Angel. Love the way you used Maya Angelou’s words with your beautiful photos.

  44. Scrumptious, Lavish, Stylish, Impressive…Good, good work.

  45. I enjoyed this post and the introspective thoughts of Maya Angelou. Couldn’t help but think of Steve when reading it.
    And yes, I am up in the middle of the night. Back from our trip to Galapagos, Machu Picchu and rain forest, only to be stricken with the flu, both of us. Fever has finally stopped raging but now up coughing. This, too, shall pass.
    Hope all is well with you and Bob.

  46. I love how you captured the gnarly, majestic sculptural forms, intertwined movements of the California Oaks. And I can’t help it, these oaks do conjure up memories of the Addams Family.
    I like how you interspersed Maya Angelou’s poem which, like your photographs is so honoring of these amazing beings.

  47. So beautiful and impressive. Trees can move me deeply, certainly when they are old and have seen so much…
    Am in love with the ‘Angel tree’…

  48. I’m currently reading “The Hidden Life of Tree” by Peter Wohleben It’s the science of trees written by a man with the soul of a poet. I’m enjoying it and this post kind of ties well with it.

  49. Beer wise and profound words by Maya and a magnificent set of trees. A stunning post.

  50. Fantastic pics, Jane. What a magnificent tree – the Angel Oak.

  51. A nice tribute. I still have a soft spot in my heart for the California oaks.

  52. Wise words form Maya Angelou. Things come and go, but something else will come along and moving forward can be just as good and valuable of a time. Amazing set of BW shots. So many perspectives of what it means to be a tree, and what they stand for.

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