Nature Photography

The Magic of Shade and Shadows

Shade is defined as the effect that comes when something blocks the sun. Fair enough. All shade is not equal, though. Here are, in no particular order, choke cherry shade …shade2 … and black locust shade…


… and apple shade …

P1420130… and gingko shade…

P1140780… and staghorn sumac shade…

P1410398… and cottonwood shade …

V0000316… and red osier dogwood shade …

P1260542… and chinese elm shade …P1260657… and apricot shade.



I chose trees and shrubs with green shade, but I could have chosen red, purple, or even blue. Even within the world of green shades, though, I think it’s obvious that the shade of one plant is different from that of another one, and that the concept of “something blocking the sun” is a good general descriptor, but doesn’t describe what’s going on, because all of these shades are several things at once: blocked light, unblocked light, light from within the plant material, light reflecting off the plant material, and a mood… and that’s not counting the smells of the shade, or the sound of it. When it comes to plants, shade is a spirit. It is a plant projected around the plant, the way a photograph is cast onto a plate. The only thing is, humans are excellent photographic plates for this type of projection. And whatever you do, don’t go to sleep under an elder.


Bad dreams will come. Really. Not a good idea. You can, however, change your dreams by sleeping under different trees. That’s how sensitive a receiver you are. So, remember, in the heat of summer, there is a place to go to have visions that cross between you, the earth, and the sun, and there are trees in the middle of them, and the space is theirs, not yours.

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