The Lone Tree




- The Lone Tree- 

When I was in high school, my Dad took me to Yellowstone over a long weekend in February. We stayed in a small cabin resort before leaving for a two day snowmobiling trip across the national park's snow covered landscape. We went on this trip to see the beauty of the park, and to photograph it. On the last leg of the journey, as we were only a few miles away from our final destination and the warmth of cozy bed and a fire, I remember staring out over the landscape as I tried to keep my face warm against the cold and wind whipping by. I had my arms wrapped around my Dad as he focused on driving the snow mobile along its white and rocky path. In a moment I recall quite clearly, I tapped and tugged at my Dad's large winter coat to get his attention, I had seen something worth stopping for. He slowed the snowmobile and watched as I silently stepped off, grabbing the camera we were using to shoot, a Canon from when he was a kid, film and completely manual. I removed the camera from its protective case and walked off the trail, about ten feet out into the deep snow, I lowered to the ground so my belly was almost touching the undisturbed white landscape. At that moment the engine to the snowmobile was turned off and all I could hear was the hollow silence of the snow covered world, like the cold wind was speaking to me.  I put my eye to the viewfinder, framed my shot as I had seen it when it was moving by, I held my breath, and clicked the shutter. I only took one.

Full of confidence and contentment, I walked silently back to where my father was waiting. I was already putting the camera back in its case. He looked at me, almost confused. I thanked him for stopping and climbed onto the back of the snowmobile. I knew that the one photo I had taken was worth the stop and the walk through knee high snow. That was the last photo I remember taking in Yellowstone, and to this day, I have never forgotten the powerful urge that took over me as I saw what I knew I needed to capture.