Aspen Eyes – Where Trees Appear To Gaze At The World Around Them

/, Idaho, Summit County, Targhee National Forest, Trees, Uinta Wasatch Cache National Forest, Utah/Aspen Eyes – Where Trees Appear To Gaze At The World Around Them

Aspen that has an eye on me, Targhee National Forest, Clark County, IdahoAspen that has an eye on me – Nikon D810, f13, 1/400, ISO 1000, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

There are times when bird photography is slow that I look around to see what other wonderful parts of nature I can photograph until the next bird flies in, that isn’t because I feel bored, it is because I know that everything in nature is connected and that makes me feel that I should at the very least observe the habitat around my subjects.

When I am photographing in forests that contain Aspens I often feel like I am being watched, not in a spooky or supernatural kind of way, but more in a humorous way because Aspens often have eyes. Or perhaps a better way of putting it is that they have features that look like eyes.

Aspen Eye in the Caribou Targhee National Forest, Clark County, IdahoAspen Eye in the Caribou Targhee National Forest – Nikon D810, f8, 1/500, ISO 400, +0.7 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

I’ve taken many “Aspen Eye” photographs over the years that I have photographed in Utah, Nevada, Idaho and Montana and these represent just a few of those photos. These aspen eyes form when the tree “self prunes” by dropping smaller branches that don’t receive enough sunlight and that leaves a scar on the trunk of the tree.

Pair of Aspen Eyes, Uinta Wasatch Cache National Forest, Summit County, UtahPair of Aspen Eyes, Uinta Wasatch Cache National Forest – Nikon D810, f7.1, 1/1000, ISO 800, -0.3 EV, Nikkor 500mm, natural light

Some of the aspens have multiple eyes on their trunks while some have just a few. Each of the eyes are unique. There are times when I have seen sap dripping from the eyes which makes it look as if the tree was crying.

Sunlit Aspen Eye in the High Uintas, Uinta Wasatch Cache National Forest, Summit County, UtahSunlit Aspen Eye in the High Uintas – Nikon D810, f7.1, 1/2000, ISO 800, -0.3 EV, Nikkor 500mm, natural light

Maybe the trees should be crying because in 1996 scientists began noticing an increase in dead and dying aspen trees, in some cases entire aspen groves have died. Possible causes for the death of aspens have included overgrazing by domesticated cattle and wild deer and elk who consume the small trees sprouting from the clonal roots so only the older trees remain. Fire suppression could also be a factor, aspens tend to grow back quickly after wildfires because while the tops of the trees may burn the clonal roots survive and will sprout new, healthy trees.

I love seeing the eyes of the forest upon me and I find myself happy to photograph them whenever I can.

Life is good.

Mia

9 Comments

  1. Marty K June 17, 2018 at 4:35 pm

    The “eyes” have it! These are wonderful shots, Mia! I really enjoy Aspens; they’re such lovely trees.

  2. Elephants Child June 17, 2018 at 3:27 pm

    As a confirmed tree hugger this post sang to me. Sad songs and glad songs.

  3. April Olson June 17, 2018 at 10:02 am

    Your post gave me a big smile today. I too have frequently found faces in trees, I have not photographed them but perhaps I will start and call the collection The Many Faces of Nature.

  4. Patty Chadwick June 17, 2018 at 9:30 am

    Actually, they all work for CBS…Your photos prove that….. 🙂
    (I hope the migraine is finally gone)

  5. Ed MacKerrow June 17, 2018 at 7:42 am

    Neat post and photos Mia! Now I will never look at aspens the same 🙂 Funny how sometimes things are right in front of us and we do not recognize them. They really do look like eyes! Thanks for opening my eyes to the eyes.

  6. David Sparks June 17, 2018 at 6:06 am

    The Eyes of Texas will never sound the same. I like those wrinkles below the eye in the second image …..

  7. Kathy June 17, 2018 at 5:54 am

    Now I am going to have to check that out! We have so many Aspen forests here but I’ve never thought of the scars as eyes! You have given me a new perspective…thank you. 🙂

  8. Jorge H. Oliveira June 17, 2018 at 5:20 am

    Beauty is all around us. We only need an open mind to see it.

    Thank you for this marvellous post.

  9. Liz Cormack June 17, 2018 at 5:17 am

    OMGosh….I have never noticed the “eyes” on aspens. I will definitely be looking for them now. Thank you for the photos & info.

Comments are closed.