When I was little, my grandmother taught me everything she knew about mushrooms and about the trees. The mushroom knowledge was wasted on me since as an adult I lost all interest in them and forgot everything grandma taught me.
As for the trees: as I moved from one country to another and from one continent to another, I became somewhat frustrated that my knowledge seemed to need constant updating because the trees from my childhood remained in my past and I had to learn about the trees I never knew existed.
When my business takes me to remote corners of the world where everything from food to people to architecture to music is so very different from what I’m accustomed to, I like to focus on the trees the same way others like to listen to the familiar music they brought on their iPod. I find trees — with their roots firmly planted in the ground — to be sort of a constant that I can count on wherever I am, even if they are different in appearance.
Additionally, trees are easier to photograph than animals because they stay put; easier to spot than flowers; and unlike people, they don’t expect to get paid.
So, I take pictures of the trees. I got an araucaria photographed in Istanbul and a flamboyant in Cuba. I snapped a row of Royal Palms on the Caribbean island of Guadeloupe and cacti on Aruba. In Ethiopia, I found a sandbox tree well protected from climbers by its spiny trunk and branches as well as a tree in which a goat was grazing. In Nairobi I took a picture of a strangling fig that was busy strangling the surrounding vegetation, while in Maasai Mara there was this solitary acacia surrounded by miles and miles of grass, as elephants devour any saplings so nothing grows taller than a couple of feet. On Borneo I pointed the camera skyward and snapped a picture of an endangered camphor tree (its resin smells of camphor) that won me an honorable mention in a photo contest in a popular monthly travel magazine.
Hey, any fellow tree aficionados out there, I’d like to hear from you!