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In spite of it being quite close to home (Ontario, Canada), it wasn’t until the late summer of 2019 I photographed this iconic white pine, located on Sunset Rock in Killbear Provincial Park, right on the shore of Georgian Bay.
We were camped nearby, and it was easy to drive to the location. A short walk from the parking area brought us right to the spot. We arrived well before sunset. It was a lovely warm evening and there few people there on a September Monday (sunsets during the height of summer draw quite large crowds). It was an easy matter to lineup the tree, the foreground rocks and a colourful sky. I used my Canon 5D Mark III and 24-105mm f/L IS lens. The low light was a problem, which I solved by bumping the ISO to 1600. I chose an aperture of f/11 to keep the tree, foreground and background all in focus and used a tripod (my shutter speed ended up to be 1/50th, too slow for me to hand hold) and a remote release.
Estimated to be 100 years old, the tree has an unusual windswept shape and the location on a barren granite outcrop is very scenic. It is said to be the most photographed tree in Ontario. The shape is in response to the strong winds coming off Georgian Bay. Generations of Killbear visitors know it, standing alone like a Group of Seven painting. To many of them it represents beauty and resilience in the face of adversity. The tree has next to no soil, and it has been buffeted by winter storms for decades, yet it has managed to persevere and remains exceptionally beautiful.