Saturday, December 10, 2011

Day 10: We Live in a World of Magical Trees

Welcome to Day 10 in our 24 Days of Books, and welcome to the magical world of trees. In the Irvington neighborhood we are blessed with a multitude of magnificent trees. In the fall I often find myself tripping over uneven sidewalks (usually the result of roots spreading from those same magnificent trees) because my eyes are looking up, taking in the beauty of the trees in their most flamingly glorious time of year. And I marvel at the spectacular root structures of many of the trees -- some of which seem large enough to live in!

But how carefully do we really look at these trees -- at their exquisite details, and not just their overall shape and effect? Our shelves, like those of most bookstores and libraries, are groaning with books that give you all kinds of advice for birdwatching, the little details that differentiate different types and genders of birds. But where are similar such books for trees?

Now, local publisher Timber Press has provided just such a book, and it is a doozy. Seeing Trees: Discover the Extraordinary Secrets of Everyday Trees, written by Nancy Ross Hugo with photography by Robert Llewellyn, celebrates seldom-seen but easily observable tree traits and invites you to watch trees with the same care and sensitivity that birdwatchers use to watch birds. I think this will end up being one of the hot holiday gift books of 2011.

Focusing on widely grown trees, this captivating book describes the rewards of careful and regular tree viewing, outlines strategies for improving your observations, and describes some of the most visually interesting tree structures, including leaves, flowers, buds, leaf scars, twigs, and bark. In-depth profiles of ten familiar species — including such beloved trees as white oak, southern magnolia, white pine, and tulip poplar — show you how to recognize and understand many of their most compelling (but usually overlooked) physical features.

Hugo's delightful text and Llewellyn's breathtaking photographs deliver a steady stream of small astonishments that not only underscore the fascinating physiology of trees but will bring you into a closer, more intimate relationship with these miracles of nature.

Nancy Ross Hugo has been writing, lecturing, and teaching about trees, native plants, and floral design for over 30 years. She was the garden columnist for the Richmond Times-Dispatch and the education manager of the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, supervising adult and children's education. She and her husband live in Howardsville, Virginia, where they manage the outdoor education and retreat center Flower Camp. Nancy loves exploring the creative process, particularly in the form of nature journaling, which, she says "helps me keep my thoughts in order, my dates straight, and my eyes open to all things wild and wonderful!"

Robert Llewellyn has been photographing trees and landscapes for almost forty years. His photographs have been featured in major art exhibits, and more than thirty books featuring his photography are in print. He had always seen trees as important aesthetic forms in landscape photography. But when he worked with Hugo on an earlier book, Remarkable Trees of Virginia, he saw them differently. “First, they were living things, they are born, they die. And second, they live in communities.” In Seeing Trees, he has discovered that minute detail reveals something else, an unexpected and alien beauty.

This video tells you more about the book and especially about the digital camera technology Llewellyn used to capture incredibly sharp detail  to create the amazing photographs in the book. They are truly stunning.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.