Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Seemingly animated dead tree

with 28 comments

Dead Tree Seemingly Animated 0520

On March 1 of 2013 I visited McKinney Falls State Park, where in the winter woods I saw this tree that, though clearly dark and dead, seemed to me quite animated.

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 1, 2015 at 5:26 AM

28 Responses

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  1. A dancing tree

    Rana Sanders

    March 1, 2015 at 8:25 AM

  2. My first thought also was of a dancing tree. Did I ever share this photo of an Ailanthus altissima, or tree of heaven? I’ve had the image in my files for years, and was undecided about photoshopping. I mentioned it to Gary Myers recently, and he took the time to track down the photographer. It appears that her image is real. It’s certainly lovely, although yours is equally sinuous and graceful.


    March 1, 2015 at 9:18 AM

    • I take that dancer to be decidedly female and balletic, while this one strikes me as male and reminiscent of the dancing brooms in “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” segment of Disney’s “Fantasia.”

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 1, 2015 at 10:26 AM

  3. And who’s to say it’s not? Perhaps it’s a distant relative of the ents in Fangorn forest.


    March 1, 2015 at 10:27 AM

    • As little as I know about insects, I’d still say I know more about entomology than about ents, having seen beetles and butterflies but never having read any Tolkien.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 1, 2015 at 11:26 AM

      • OK, even if you haven’t read his works, have you at least seen the Peter Jackson LOTR and Hobbit films, all of which were filmed in New Zealand? If not, I urge you to do so–but ignore all of the protracted battle scenes and just concentrate on the landscapes–it’s really worth it!


        March 3, 2015 at 8:41 PM

        • We drove near one of the places that had served as a movie set and is now a tourist attraction, but we didn’t stop.

          Steve Schwartzman

          March 3, 2015 at 11:45 PM

  4. Looks like that tree could have been right out of J.R.R. Tolkien.

    Lavinia Ross

    March 1, 2015 at 10:56 AM

  5. Good eye! It’s like the Grim Reaper coming up outta the ground. He’s very skinny and needs a sandwich. 😉 Cool picture.


    March 1, 2015 at 3:35 PM

    • Good of you, and appropriate, to invoke a vision of the Grim Reaper. As for food, I’ll add that the skinny tree had grown in the sand which is there.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 1, 2015 at 11:22 PM

  6. My first thought was a dancing tree as well.

    Steve Gingold

    March 1, 2015 at 6:47 PM

  7. I can’t work out whether the tree wants to warmly embrace me or strangle me with its long arms and fingers. Maybe I need some therapy to work that one out! Too many spooky stories as a child perhaps. Now that I’ve read the comments, I do see that it could also be dancing. A more amusing alternative to my fears!


    March 1, 2015 at 7:39 PM

    • Both ends of the imaginative spectrum have come up, from the Grim Reaper to a svelte dancer. You’re free to have both.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 1, 2015 at 11:25 PM

  8. I will like fit between animated and Fantasia.


    March 2, 2015 at 5:49 AM

  9. So often a tree can appear to be dying, particularly during drastic seasonal changes, yet there is an energy field about them that tells us they will burst into life again. They may be down but they’re not out!

    Mary Mageau

    March 2, 2015 at 6:23 PM

    • That’s an optimistic take on the situation, Mary. The next time I’m at McKinney Falls State Park, if I can figure out where this tree is I’ll check its status.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 2, 2015 at 7:15 PM

  10. Clearly one of the set designers from The Wizard of Oz stopped by there for inspiration (or practice).


    March 3, 2015 at 12:56 PM

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