Readers Photo Challenge: Go climb a tree

“I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree…” – Trees by Joyce Kilmer

Perhaps words can’t convey the loveliness of trees, but their beauty can be captured photographs. That’s what 16 readers did for this month’s Readers Photo Challenge assignment of “trees.” Trees provide cooling shade, lumber for homes and the air that we breathe. Stockton carries a “Tree City, USA” designation by the Arbor Day Foundation and there are not only thousands of trees within the city limits there are many more – wild, domestic and farmed – in the surrounding area.

A total 82 pictures of trees were sent in. Here are some of the best examples.


Some people traveled far afield to get their photos of trees, Oran Schwinn of Stockton stayed closer to home. Schwinn used a Google Pixel XL phone to photograph a pine tree at Quail Lakes Baptist Church in Stockton. He shot from the base of the tree upwards. Its trunk, with its bark providing some great visual texture, leads the viewers’ eye with a bold diagonal into the photo. The resulting photo is worthy of any giant redwood tree in any national forest.


Trees are also habitats for all types of creatures and the next set of photos capture wildlife in their natural settings.

Rick Wilmot of Lodi went on a photography tour led by Valley Springs-based landscape photographer John Slot at Pardee Lake. Wilmot used a Canon 7D DSLR camera equipped with a 100-400mm telephoto zoom lens to photograph a majestic bald eagle perched in a Ponderosa pine tree at the reservoir near Ione.


Diane Beltz of Stockton captured fauna that’s a little less exotic, though no less photogenic. She used a Canon Powershot SX530 digital point and shoot camera to photograph a squirrel peeking through the branches a tree at the Japanese Tea Garden at Micke Grove Park in Lodi.


Trees also provide refuge to domesticated animals too. Carolyn Silva of Jackson used a Nikon 5000 DSLR camera to photograph a sheep resting under a tree on a hillside along Camanche Pkwy South Rd. between Buena Vista and Burson in Calaveras County. The sheep’s white coat sands out against the green of the tree’s leaves and the surrounding grass.


Teresa Mahnken of Morada captured one of the smaller denizens of the natural world. She used a Nikon D3300 DSLR camera to photograph a snail on a woodpile in her backyard as it crawled across the open face of a cut log. The rich color of the wood and the cracks contained within it adds great texture to Mahnken’s image.


Susan Scott of Stockton used a Canon EOS Rebel DSLR camera to photograph a bird in an oak tree at Oak Grove Regional Park in Stockton and turned her photo into a classic silhouette. The bird perched on a bare branch is framed by more leafy elements of the tree all set against a background of a pale blue sky.


Stocktonian Dave Skinner’s tree photo is all about texture. Skinner used a Nikon D7100 DSLR to photograph a detail of a deodar cedar in his backyard. His extreme close-up makes the bark look like an alien landscape.

A new challenge assignment will be issued next week on May 31.

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