This photo was taken in Finley National Wildlife Refuge. The refuge is a short drive from my home and sometimes feels like a home away from home for me. I go there several times a week to photograph birds, other wildlife, and occasionally landscapes. The refuge has large areas of oak savannah (prairie grasses with scattered oak trees). Many oak trees are hundreds of years old, with lovely moss hanging from their gnarled branches. I find these trees especially interesting to photograph on days with low-lying fog, which we get a lot of in the winter.
I decided to go to the refuge this morning because there was a light layer of fog, giving the landscape an even softer look. Autumn in western Oregon isn't the flashy spectacle found in many other parts of the country. Instead, the colors are more subtle shades of browns, oranges, and yellows. I spent an hour or so on a hillside of oak trees, trying not to fall when my feet kept getting tangled in the high grass and blackberry vines.
I wasn't satisfied with the shots I was getting on the hillside (and I was getting frustrated by the vines!), so I decided to move on. As I walked, I was drawn to a row of ancient oak trees lining the gravel road that winds through the refuge. I stepped underneath the branches and immediately felt like I was being wrapped in the arms of these ancient trees. Sometimes, knowing whether to stay in one area and keep trying for a shot or just move on is a challenge. On this particular day, I was glad I kept walking.
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Dimitri Vasileiou • Editor