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One of my favorite places to walk anytime of the year is the Fort Sheridan Lake County Forest Preserve. The forest preserve is a 250 acre space that combines a savanna, ravines and a 70 foot bluff over looking Lake Michigan. Fort Sheridan is one of my favorite places to walk and photograph.
During the Summer I noticed an Oak tree along a South trail of the preserve with an unusual canopy. Closer inspection of the canopy revealed that part of this Oak tree's top had been sheared off during a storm or perhaps struck by lightning. Every time I walked by that tree I kept thinking about creating an image of that Oak tree with the unusual canopy.
Summer became fall and I watched as the leaves turn from green to gold. The colors were great, but there was something missing from the image I imagined in my mind. I needed some clouds. I kept watching and waiting hoping for the "best" sky before the leaves were gone. With November on the door step of October, I thought I might not be able to create the image I saw in my mind's eye.
With three days left in October, on a sunny afternoon, some clouds rolled in ahead a late fall rain storm and I knew this might be my one opportunity to create the image I had in mind.
I jumped in the car and drove 15 minutes North to the forest preserve. Luckily it was less than a 10 minute walk from the car to the tree. The sky was changing quickly. I setup my camera and tripod, and started working on a few different composition ideas. Just after I took this image, the clouds moved in covering up the Sun. I waited around for another 30 minutes to see if there would be another break in the clouds, but the skies didn't change. Fortunately I was able to capture this Oak tree with it's two small companions, good lighting, and a great sky.
When I look at this image, I am reminded of Henri Cartier-Bresson's idea of the "decisive moment" and the one creative moment you get to create that unique image.
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Dimitri Vasileiou • Editor