Back to New York again, Chris and I, visiting Al and Donna. We walked up to the John Jay Park area (around 76th and York) which lead to a wonderful promenade over the FDR drive, up to the Schulz Park, site of Gracie Mansion. No politicians were seen in the making of this set. All images captured with a Nikon D200, converted to infrared by LifePixel. Converted to black and white with Silver Efex Pro .
The architecture of New York is of course terrific. Sometimes very accessible (click for a larger view):
Sometimes not so accessible!
You are surrounded by water in New York, though it may not seem that way. There is water and history.
Water and transportation.
And of course trees with stories to tell.
People may be surprised by the look of these “black and white” images. The leaves are typically closer to white. The reason for that is that the original image capture is done with a camera, in this case a Nikon D200, which has been “converted” from one that captures in normal color to one that captures in infrared. Any thing that reflects infrared light will appear bright. Chlorophyll which of course can be found in the leaves of trees, readily reflects infrared light, giving the leaves the apparent brightness that you see here. (This particular camera was converted by a Life Pixel , one of the leaders in the field. The cost is not great.)
So, why infrared? Ironically, by highlighting the foliage, infrared also shows off the trunk, at least as long as there’s any sun around. The trunk is less reflective of infrared light, and so stands out in all kinds of weather. So much of the story of a tree can be told by the trunk. It’s the truck that gives the tree character, that tells you about the problems the tree has faced (lightening, disease, dog you know what, lack of sun and whole host of other challenges), the tree’s job, the tree’s age, and ultimately the trunk represents a testament to the life that has passed out of the tree when it’s time comes. Of course, for great trees, that time can be quite long. In the city, trees tend to live less than twenty years. But most of the trees you see here have been around much longer. Not everyone likes the IR capture of imagery, but for me, IR allows me to convey something of what I feel like when I’m interacting with a great tree, even one whose time has passed. These images are all from recent trips to Elm and Institute Parks, in Worcester, MA. Click on the images for a larger view.
As I continue to explore the great trees of Worcester, I have been guided recently by a most interesting work, Trees at Risk, by Evelyn Horwitz. This outstanding book is really a history of Worcester, as the author takes us well beyond the role that the forest at first, and then the shade and park trees that came after the forest was destroyed, have played in the City. She’s an outstanding researcher/writer (though she is scholarly at times, those not up for a detailed compilation of the facts should be prepared to scan and skip as necessary) and her history has guided me to a range of new locations, including the Rural Cemetery, which is just off Grove St. The Rural Cemetery, actually a private institution, was inspired by the public health and aesthetic movements taking hold in the pre-Civil War era, in the U.S. The founders of the Rural Cemetery, the Lincolns and Salisburys among others were staunch believers in the value of wooded spaces, even while their business interests collided with the environment. This is a wonderfully peaceful place, the mood set in large measure by the wonderful Ash, Beach and Maple trees (to name just a view), that shade the grounds. Some are obviously quite old, certainly dating back to the 1800’s if not back to the time of the founding of the Cemetery.
I don’t normally publish pictures of cemeteries on my web site, out of respect for those lost and those still here. In the spirit of Memorial Day, and with an intent to encourage others to appreciate what we’ve got, I wanted to share a few of these images. The images are presented for educational purposes only. I”m again working in infrared to create black and white images that I think speak to the grandure of the great trees of Worcester.
All images copyright (c) James M. Hunt, 2010, all rights reserved.
It’s not easy being an urban tree. They don’t live all that along, on average around thirteen years. These trees have lived longer. In winter, you can see how great they are, though some are past their prime. You can also see how fragile they are.