Perfect Symmetry

_ds86480_finalSharp frosts and bright sunny days are days to be enjoyed and photographed. Especially when one is rewarded with an image like this.

How do trees achieve this level of symmetry? I spotted this example late in the afternoon on a visit to Sheffield Park. It wasn’t easy to get a clear view of this magnificent tree, and some work in processing was required to remove unwanted intrusions into the edge of the image, but the image you see, is exactly how this tree is in real life (including that marginal imperfection affecting the lowest branches on the right side of the tree).

Nature never ceases to amaze me, and the more I observe the countryside hereabouts, the more I know that trees will become a subject of greater interest.


About LensScaper

Hi - I'm a UK-based photographer who started out 45+ years ago as a lover of landscapes, inspired by my love of outdoor pursuits: skiing, walking and climbing. Now retired, I seldom leave home without a camera and I find images in unexpected places and from different genres. I work on the premise that Photography is Art and that creativity is dependent on the cultivation of 'A Seeing Eye'. I'm not averse to manipulating images to produce derivatives that may sometimes be far removed from the original.
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33 Responses to Perfect Symmetry

  1. That is a superb shot Andy. I am constantly amazed by Nature, and the older I get the more amazed I get. 🙂

    • LensScaper says:

      Many thanks SP. I’ve seen a lot of trees in the last few weeks, usually in the distance while driving and remarked on their skeletal shapes. But to get one up close like this so perfect and able to hide the setting behind the trunk gave me a lot of pleasure. I came across a great quote recently that I am sure would appeal to you, by Yann Arthus-Bertrand: ‘The Earth is Art. The photographer is only a witness’. Sums it up very astutely, I reckon.

  2. this tree is perfect 🙂

  3. paula graham says:

    What a beauty you show us .

  4. oneowner says:

    Great image, Andy. It’s extraordinary how some trees can achieve this level of symmetry without any pruning. Perhaps if a tree this size were asymmetrical it wouldn’t be standing long.

    • LensScaper says:

      Thanks Ken. Yes, pruning wrecks a tree’s symmetry. Asymmetry will make a tree more unstable over time which in turn will put unequal pressure on the root system so I think your hypothesis is right.

  5. shoreacres says:

    It’s a splendid image. Apart from its inherent beauty, it’s a reminder of one of photography’s great benefits: capturing these ephemeral moments that touch the heart but never come again — at least not in exactly the same way.

    As for the symmetry, I think it’s an expression of the tree’s essential nature as much as an achievement. I suppose that’s one reason I find asymmetry so interesting. It’s always fun to ponder the external forces that leave trees mis-shapen in some way — like that little imperfection on the bottom right.

    This particular tree’s a good reminder of why snowflakes, other crystals, and the branched, protoplasmic extensions of nerve cells are called dendrites, or dendritic: dendron being the Greek word for “tree.”

    • LensScaper says:

      Thanks you Linda. Each genus has a different shape, according to the experts. I know about three of them! And yes, From that I deduce that shape must be natural to a genus – in its DNA. Near the coast down here one sees a lot of asymmetry – often due to the prevailing wind – but it tends to seen in the stubbier trees, you don’t find tall trees near the southern coastline very often. Dendritic is an interesting term. There has been an upside down Christmas Tree on display hanging in the stairwell at Tate Britain this Christmas, with all its roots displayed: . I wonder how symmetrical root systems really are if you could tease them out of the ground – they too are subject to all sorts of asymmetric forces natural to the soil and terrain.

  6. Dina says:

    This is an amazing symmetry, Andy. This beautiful photo spends peaceful harmony.
    Thank you for your lovely comemnt on our blog; –
    “I have been reminded several times recently of a quote I found last year by Yann Arthus-Bertrand: ‘The Earth is Art. The photographer is only a witness’. We are so fortunate to be able to witness and capture what so many others will miss.”
    – I have put in my little book of gems. 🙂

  7. Meanderer says:

    It’s beautiful; what a treat for the eyes. It must have been looked after for many years.

  8. hmunro says:

    What a stunning image! And kudos to you for showcasing nature’s beauty so perfectly. Sometimes it’s the simplest compositions — like yours — that hold the most power. Lovely work, Andy.

    • LensScaper says:

      Thanks Heather. There really was only one way to photograph this tree with the setting sun hovering nearby. It’s may be a bit cliched as an image, but that doesn’t bother me.

  9. Other people have used up my adjectives, so I’ll just say I really like this. I also appreciate the work you must have done to get the sun to behave like this—including getting the exposure right in the first place.

    • LensScaper says:

      Thank you Linda – much appreciated. Hiding the sun behind the main trunk helped with the symmetry and of course, as you say, the exposure was then controllable.

  10. alan frost says:

    Nature and photography at its very best Andy. A superb image.

  11. Beautifully captured, Andy. A study in subtle grace. 🙂

  12. ehpem says:

    You have made the most of this tree with the perfect light and framing. It’s not just nature that made this, but your keen eye.

    If I had a tree like this to photograph, it would be getting frequent visits throughout the year to find all the variations it has to offer.

  13. A very painterly image, I love the blue glow in the sky around the tree – very beautiful!

  14. Jane Lurie says:

    Hi Andy, Your image just makes me sigh. So beautiful. Happy I stumbled upon your site. Happy New Year!

  15. Chillbrook says:

    Beautiful image Andy!

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