When sequoias fall over they expose a massive root “ball”. (Ball is in quotes because it’s really more disk-shaped; quite wide and circular but flat and not very thick given the size of the trees.) They last years, probably centuries and their weathered, ragged features are great for close-in photography.
Enjoy this Thanksgiving Day. Lots to be thankful for around here including all my POTD readers!
The giant sequoia trees in Sequoia National Park are incredibly big, growing to over 30′ in diameter and 300′ tall. They are so big it’s extremely difficult to truly grasp their full bulk even when you are right among them. For example, I was standing straight up inside a hollowed out downed sequoia when I took this photo. The tree formed a tunnel easily 100 feet long that you could walk through.
As hard as it is to grasp the size of these trees, in my judgement it is simply impossible to depict any significant portion of a sequoia in a photograph no matter how far you stand away from the subject. So I did not even try. Instead I decided to concentrate on close-in shots like this one during my time there.
On a clear day, from this vantage point in the Sierras you can see far out across the San Joaquin Valley thousands of feet below. On this day we saw fog, lots of it. It was however quite a dramatic experience as the winds kept pushing streams of fog up against and over the ridge and occasionally even clouding the view of the edge from where I was standing a short distance away.
Other than some nice strong afternoon light, there’s nothing particularly dramatic about this scene–unless you’ve just left Montana in the middle of a snow storm and now you’re sitting outside in t-shirt weather. I would not have wanted to be in Exeter a month earlier when it was 105, but the temps were just right in mid-November.
Sacred Datura, a.k.a. Jimson weed, is a familiar plant to desert wanderers and also readers of Carlos Castaneda’s book The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge. Reading that book while an undergraduate in Kansas in the early 70s was instrumental in my decision to apply for graduate school in Arizona. It was not the books treatment of the use of Sacred Datura that drew me to Arizona however; rather it was that the book (along with perusing various issues of Arizona Highways magazine) made me fall in love with the Sonoran Desert even though I’d never been there before.