Last Vestiges of Winter

Young White Alders

White Alder Grove

About a week ago I went out to look for signs of early spring, as I had already seen some Yellow Eyed Grass blooming in the meadows, as well as some Trillium in the forest.   So I decided to head down to the Gualala River to see what I could find.   I did come across a few early blooms but I found myself drawn to a grove of white alders (Birch family) at the confluence of the Wheatfield Fork and South Fork of the Gualala River, near Twin Bridges.  This area was flooded over the winter by some high flows so the floor of this riparian woodland was pretty torn up.  It was a little strange to be in this spot as most of the surrounding upland areas were showing new buds and blossoms, while these alders were still not showing any signs of spring yet.

I was always drawn to this type of setting, where winter silhouettes of barren trees against a grey sky predominate.  This was a familiar winter feature for me growing up in Long Island.  So I had a fun afternoon shooting this stand of alders before they leaf out for spring.  Most of these trees have already started to show some signs of buds just since I shot these images. 

After seeing these images on the computer I realized that I had to convert them to black and white, because I think that’s how I really saw them in my mind’s eye when I walked through the woods.  The first image shows a fairly young stand of white alders against a wooded background.  In the second image, the sun was right behind the tree in the center of the image.  I found the tonal contrast here, as well as the symmetry of the trees “leaning” in, quite compelling as I hope you will also.  Black and white is a new area of photography for me, and I decided to experiment and take a more artful approach to these images.  It was a fun afternoon, and a fun time in post processing creating these images.  It was also a nice way to say goodbye to winter.


Equipment:  Nikon D3s; Nikkor 24-70 mm f2.8 lens.

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