In the Forest – California Oak Woodlands After Snow

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This scene shows a typical Oak Woodlands forest in California’s Santa Cruz Mountains, but after a not-so-typical weather event: snow.

I like this photo because to me, it displays the thing that I’ve found hardest to capture about California’s Santa Cruz Mountains: the character of the oak woodlands. These forests have so much personality, but it’s often difficult to bottle that character into a photograph. It seems that everywhere you look, gnarled branches, fallen logs, and forest clutter completely cover the landscape. In general, these woods are just very chaotic. Other types of forests seem like harmonious utopias or pre-architectured masterpieces in comparison. This one seems like a war zone. I’ve tried to portray this ambiance before, with little success. But this time, the clearing skies, scattered light, and snow covered debris (yes, that is snow on the log) really helped to pull together the sense of constant battle that I get from walking through these woodlands.

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