Newberry Volcanic NM, Oregon, USA by Steve Giardini

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The Newberry Volcanic National Monument is located in Central Oregon. I drove the gravel road to the 8,000 foot overlook at Paulina Peak. The surrounded forest becomes sparse and trees become gnarly and stunted the higher you go. I am constantly amazed at just how adaptable and resilient these trees have become. For example, this tree was growing directly out of a volcanic cliff. I wanted to create an image that depicted its tenacity in what appeared to be insurmountable survival conditions. I framed it tight against the rock background. I used a short depth of field to bring the tree forward. The light was soft and providing a classic bell curve histogram. I took this image handheld. As a consequence I used a fast shutter speed and a higher than normal ISO of 640. In post I thought about desaturating the background to further separate the tree from the background. It turns out it wasn't necessary. The gray rock background with a few green-yellow-orange lichen and plants was perfect subdued background. I did boost the greens & yellows to give the tree a little more presence.

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