For Stiles nothing compared to the
beauty of California national parks. He had visited countless
national parks across the continental United States, but he still
loved what California had to offer the most.
Stiles was in the process of organising
an exhibition of his photographs of California. He had some truly
beautiful photos, but Stiles wasn’t satisfied. He wanted some
really unique shots to be the centrepiece of the exhibition.
Spring was Stiles’ favourite time to
photograph. He loved when everything was saturated with colour and
life, when the wild flowers were in full bloom and everything was
lush and green. Naturally the one day Stiles decided to go out, rain
was coming down in a constant drizzle.
A little rain wasn’t enough to deter
Stiles though, as long as he could keep his camera dry he didn’t
care how wet he got.
The trail Stiles was following was an
old riverbed. The river had been diverted by a massive landslide
decades earlier, it still sometimes flooded, but there hadn’t been
enough rain for that to happen. The loose sand of the riverbed
shifted under his feet as Stiles twisted, attempting to find the
Stiles never planned what he was going
to photograph. He liked to let the day flow naturally and let
inspiration guide him. On the few occasions he had planned to
photograph certain landmarks in parks, he hadn’t even made it to
the right area in the park.
He took some amazing photos, but
nothing stood out to him. Nature amazed him like it always did, but
nothing he captured with his camera inspired him.
After an hour or so of walking Stiles
decided to leave the riverbed. He wasn’t prepared for an off trail
hike, but that had never stopped him before.
One of the things that Stiles loved
about the national parks was that no matter how much time he spent
hiking, there was always something new and interesting to see and
A huge redwood tree towered above
Stiles. It was still standing, with green leaves growing on the
branches, even though the base of the trunk was split open. Scorch
marks radiated out from the tree’s wound.
Stiles lifted his camera and started
The damage must have been caused by a
lightning strike; Stiles was amazed that it hadn’t started a forest
fire. The surrounding area didn’t have any damage to it at all. He
also wondered how in the world the lightening had hit the base of the
tree, instead of the top.
Stiles walked up to the base of the
tree and ran his fingers across the black scorch marks. It wasn’t
the tallest tree in the park by any means, but it managed to make
Stiles feel smaller than any of the others.
Stiles got down on his knees to take a
photo of the tree from a worms eye point of view. Maybe this was what
he had been looking for. This huge tree that had survived something
that would have killed almost anything else. He snapped a few photos,
then stood up and moved back. He looked at the tree and considered
how else he could showcase its true beauty.