Big Sur Burnt Trees
Driving on a back road above Big Sur, I came across the skeletal remains of trees after a forest fire. A lot of people thing that wild fires should be extinguished, but in reality, they are needed for the health of the ecosystem.
The fire clears the forest floor of excess detritus, eliminates the weaker members of each species, and actually helps the trees reproduce. The heat of the fire melts the resin in the cones, allowing them to open and release their seeds. If the fire doesn’t burn long enough, the seeds aren’t released. If it burns too long, the seeds are burnt too. A good fire will result in the release of over 500,000 seeds per acre and those seeds don’t have to compete with other plants because of the fire.
When I took this shot, knew there was something, but I wasn’t sure what. After playing with it, I found that I really liked it in black and white.
I was lucky to get a camp site during the summer in the Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park campground. Usually, they are sold out and there is a waiting list, but this time I got there early and got in for a few nights as I explored the area. During the day, I did the usual thing, driving up and down the coast looking for sunsets on the water, water falls in the forest, etc., but at night I stayed in the camp ground.
I’m not to big on staying in state/national park campgrounds because they are noisy, crowded, and usually full of people who have a pretty high sense of entitlement, but in this case it’s the only game within a reasonable driving distance. So, that is where I stayed.
In some ways, I got lucky. The sun was streaming in through the trees and the smoke from the other campers fires and cooking allowed to sun rays to form. I looked up and at first thought there was nothing there to shoot, but I grabbed my camera anyway and looked for the shot. I found that if I zoomed in on the rays and left out most of the rest of the scene, I got something I liked.
When I got home, I kept coming back to it, so I played with it and found that the image grew on me. Here it is.