Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Tibetan Cherry bark

click photo to enlarge
Recently I noted my liking for the bark of the London Plane Tree, a subject I've photographed on three occasions (1, 2, 3). But it's not just the bark of this particular species that fascinates me; I'm drawn to any that is attractively figured. Other varieties that I've posted in the past are silver birch and eucalyptus.

A couple of days ago I came across a tree that I've wanted to photograph for a while - the Tibetan Cherry (Prunus serrula) - a species with red bark that looks like polished mahogany. Often it is very lightly figured with very few of the raised strips that resemble more "normal" bark. However, the example that I found had quite a few regularly spaced around its trunk, giving it a striated, semi-abstract appearance that appealed to me enormously.

This tree also goes under the names Birch Bark Cherry and Paper Bark Cherry, so the Latin name is useful for pinning down the particular species. Its habit of casting strips of bark as it ages is presumaby one of the reasons these names arose. This is a tree that positively cries out for you to touch it and feel its smooth, highly polished surface, and consequently I was surprised to find it planted in the centre of a flower bed out of reach. I think if I had one it would be grown next to a path so that everyone who passed by could indulge their desire!

photograph & text (c) T. Boughen

Camera: Olympus E510
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 102mm (204mm/35mm equiv.)
F No: f5.6
Shutter Speed: 1/160
ISO: 200
Exposure Compensation: -0.3 EV
Image Stabilisation: On

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