“The mighty oak” is an idea familiar to us all for, indeed, oaks are the strongest living things, resistant to the forces of nature and exceptionally long-lived. At the same time, we also perceive them as objects of beauty. This portfolio tries to get under the skin of deciduous oaks in order to examine the essence of these magnificent trees. To do that I chose to study them in winter, without their leafy coverings, to be able to highlight their powerful and complex structure. While doing so I also became fascinated with the perfect transition from massive trunk through limbs of decreasing size out to the myriad delicate twigs.
In all cases these are deciduous Blue oaks (Quercus douglasii) that are endemic to California, located in the lower slopes of the Coast Ranges and the western foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountain range. Blue oaks are superbly adapted to the shallow, rocky soils of these hot, dry foothills, where other oaks would struggle to survive.