During a recent trip to Charlotte North Carolina, I visited the Charlotte Nature Center. They have a butterfly room where I decided to try some hand held Macro photography on a very difficult subject. I did a bit of research before heading out to the nature center and tried to incorporate these tips into my session. I was unable to use a tripod which would have assisted in stabilizing my camera. In addition I was having to contend with a 2nd grade field trip with about 20 undisciplined kids who were trying to catch the butterflies with their hands. Butterflies are skittish by nature but when they are being chased by 8 year old kids, they do not stay in one spot for very long. I love the complexity of this subject and I plan to try again with my tripod and without 2nd graders!
When I took this photo yesterday at Selby Gardens I did not have the “descending” theme in mind. However the more I looked at this picture the more I saw the theme come together. The leading lines are descending into the base of the fern leaf and my eye was definitely drawn to that.
While visiting Lake Wales, I came across this very tall palm tree in the midst of native oaks. Several things struck me about the tree besides the height. The weather that weekend was quite blustery and it amazed me how this tall and willowy tree held it’s own against the sturdy oaks. I decided to do a little research on tall palm trees vs. strong winds and here is what I found.
“There are two main advantages the palm tree has over other trees, the roots and the shoot structure.
Unlike many other trees, the roots can fare well in both very wet as very dry soils. Generally, preceding the heavier storms, the soil gets very wet. Whereas this allows most trees to slide more easily (and thus fall over more easily), this actually makes the roots attach to the ground better and stronger, at least given that they are fully developed.
As for the shoots, the material is very flexible. This allows those trees to flex back and forth a lot, and it is indeed concerning because you never quite know when it’s gonna snap (that does occur occasionally). It’s also unbranched, meaning the wind has less to catch onto. This also means that as the wind blows it further down, the effective area the wind exerts a force on gets smaller (wind can’t exert as much force on a tree at an angle). Also because it tapers towards the top, the force on the top is almost always less than in the middle or even base (this is the case with most trees, although some grow branches pretty high).
Furthermore some palm trees shed their leaves on purpose if there is a storm, this means it gets less top-heavy and the wind can exert significantly less force on the top. Again, it helps balance things out as normally a force can move something more easily the further away from the balance point (here the ground, where the roots and base are attached.”
So the next time you see a palm tree swaying in the wind you will know that these trees are built to withstand a beating from the weather.