Dawn Redwood cones

By Saturday, June 27, 2009grafphoto
Dawn Redwood cones

Dawn Redwood cones

These pine cones are from two dawn redwood trees I have in my yard – where I also have a white pine as well.   The unique shape to these cones made for a great pattern study.  I actually fumbled around for awhile until finally settling on this composition.  It was interesting how the single white pine cone changed some of the dynamics.  I wanted to position it so it would act somewhat of a barrier to your eyes leaving the frame, and bounce them back up again.   I used a soft gold diffuser to bounce some warm light into the patterns to enhance the texture.

These trees have an interesting history as well.  Though they are related to the more famous genus of Sequoia redwoods, no one seemed to know they existed before the 1940s except in fossils.   Then a small forest of these trees (only about 5,000 supposedly) was discovered in China, some Harvard researchers went to collect seed samples, etc – and so they started to be cultivated elsewhere.  There is a preserve of these trees now in North Carolina, Crescent Ridge Dawn Redwoods Preserve, that will not open until 2035 to hopefully re-establish a native forest of them.   Their site has a lot of interesting tidbits about these trees, including some photos of the fossils.   I am not quite sure how they became ornamental landscape trees, but it seems I have a link between my yard, North Carolina, and ancient China.

Join the discussion 19 Comments

  • D.A. Hänks says:

    To those with questions about the dawn redwood, feel free to follow the original poster’s link and drop me an email. Michael and Ben, I have the answers to your questions as well.

    Mark, thanks again, and we are also sending out a quarterly newsletter on the Preserve now, so if you want to be added, lemme know. We have workshops from time to time, so perhaps you can still make it before you go blind. 🙂

  • Ben says:

    Hello Mark! Very interesting composition. It’s very pleasing to the eye, being that it likes to bounce around the image. Eye candy :).

    The gold diffuser worked well for giving the image a nice subtle yellowish tone that works very well in this image. I never heard about these trees before I may take a spin on the net and try to find the site about these trees. Think they could be planted up my way in Ontario? Very nice work! Keep it up!


  • Dennis says:

    Hey, Mark! Excellent image. At first, I found the needles distracting because I was looking for the cone stems. Then I realized that the pine cone and needles provide exceptional contrast. … I have some cones on my desk — wondering what they are — and receive incorrect guesses from folks who do dendrology for a living. Now I see why. Thanks for the answer.

  • Mark says:

    Carl – thanks! Thanks for droppin in from the sticks.

    D.A. – you are welcome – I hope to make it down there to see it in 2035! I may not be able to see well by then, but I’ll give it a go.

  • D.A. Hänks says:

    Mark, thank you so much for mentioning the Preserve. I hope you will visit when we open. You are obviously a true fan of this magnificent tree.

    Your pic has wonderful composition; the Pinus strobus cone did the trick.

  • Carl D says:

    Hey Mark

    Just a quick check in – this is a KILLER photo, bud. I love this.



  • Mark says:

    Thank you Richard, Tammie.

    Anita, I am glad you two picked up on the pine needles – they are an intentional and integral part of the composition.

    Michael – pine cones are available! 🙂 I just don’t know if that is all you need to start one of these trees.

  • This is a wonderful image here Mark, and some very interesting information about this particular tree.
    Don’t think I know much about this tree other than what you have told me here, … now I am wondering if there are some seed available? 🙂


  • Anita Jesse says:

    What a beautiful composition. I particularly love the way the graceful, curving pine needles embrace the cones and bring it all together. I see that Earl appreciated the contribution of those curves, as well.

  • Tammie says:

    beautiful pattern study, wonderful photo!

  • Richard Wong says:

    A very nice arrangement Mark. I have a hard time doing these sorts of still life images myself and can appreciate a well-composed one.

  • Mark says:

    Thanks everyone.

    Hi Petra, it might make for a nice wallpaper. I tend to have a preference for simpler onces though – icons might get a little lost in the pattern you think?

  • edvatza says:

    Excellent abstract. The cones themselves are beautiful but I find the little curly things just take me on a joy ride through the image. A real winner!

  • Hi Mark, as a fan of structures and patterns I love this photo of course. I could imagine this becoming a wonderful wallpaper including some relief textures. Did you ever think about this?

  • Cindy says:

    what a stunning image! appreciate the natural history too, has been a bit too long since I dropped by– alot of good stuff to catch up on. Hope you’re enjoying the season 🙂

  • Interesting story and beautiful photo Mark!

  • Earl says:

    I think you accomplished your objective with the placement of the white pine cone and I also find my eye following the gentle curve of many of the pine needles–almost like waves upon the rocks. Humm…something very Zen about it.

    It’s already been a good day, I just learned something not only about dawn redwood trees but also about North Carolina. I guess it proves you need to look at the wonder under your feet before becoming too enamored with the distant horizon. Thanks for the interesting information and sharing the wonderful photo!

Leave a Reply

Recent Posts