Ponthus' Beech

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    Explored 19/06/2011

    Prints available on my website HERE.

    See the autumnal version.

    This is a very special photo to me. Trees inspire me much respect, especially old and venerable ones: they witnessed the past, and will probably see a far future, unlike me.

    This particular tree is a legend by himself. He even has a name: Ponthus' beech. He lives in the Brocéliande forest, in Bretagne (France), the one where many Arthurian legends occurred. One can also find Merlin's tomb here (well, at least one of them...). Different stories exist, but a common one is that Ponthus, a knight of the round table, lived in a castle there, somewhere around the 10th century. He was disappointed by the fact he had no child, and blasphemed about it. God punished him by destroying his castle in a storm, and the tree grew on its ruins.

    While this tree is well known (he illustrates several photography books' covers), finding it is quite hard. Technically, he is located in a private part of the forest, theoretically forbidden to walkers. This is probably why very few information is available about his location. A long documentary research gave me several possibilities, which I entered as coordinates in a GPS device.

    I then had to drive about 5h to reach the forest, and park on its side. This place is gigantic, and I met absolutely nobody. It was a fantastic experience to wander alone in these woods, exploring the locations possibilities in the hope of finding the mythical tree. I was quite lucky, and after only an hour of walk I was standing in front of it. I may be an emotional guy, but believe me, I was simply overwhelmed by the beauty of his shapes, the moss covering most of his trunk, and by the fact that he was the very only one of his kind (all the other trees in the area were straight, as you can see on the photo). I spent about 3h shooting it carefully, testing many angles, 3 different lenses, and waiting for the right light. Since the place was quite dark, I decided to use bracketing, which was extremely useful in post-processing to raise the dynamic range.

    I really hope I will be able to go there many times again, and photography it at different seasons. It is quite a long day (mainly spent on the road), but it was so worth it. Did I mention I love this tree? :-)

    Pierre.l16, bear_music, and 364 other people added this photo to their favorites.

    View 20 more comments

    1. Baljit Kaur Photography 32 months ago | reply

      Congrats on capturing such magical beauty! It's not easy...

    2. literarymom 32 months ago | reply

      Very Middle Earth

    3. mjsfotoart 31 months ago | reply

      Etheral and majestic! Fantastic!!!

    4. davila_mary 30 months ago | reply

      Beautiful photography.

    5. Caitlyn Park 28 months ago | reply

      This is stunning! Sounds like quite a little adventure! --Well worth it!
      The light is great and the tree itself seems magical!
      I like the background too, with the straight ones contrasting with his beautiful shapes!

    6. NoBi CooL 22 months ago | reply

      Awesomely Beautiful !

    7. pplobr 22 months ago | reply

      just added to my favorites, so I remember to follow your work.
      Beautiful pitcture, congratulations!

    8. Gypsy Cowboy 20 months ago | reply

      Seems there should have been a few wood nymphs or fairies in the area?

    9. Andy2580 19 months ago | reply

      Stumbled across your shot - absolutely stunning.

    10. ~Jo Lynn 18 months ago | reply

      Fantastic image, great info.

    11. melfoody 17 months ago | reply

      Top notch. Perfect exposure and fascinating story. This photo was definitely worth all the effort.

    12. GeminiWoman25 11 months ago | reply

      Wonderful photograph...you really captured the majesty of the tree. And thank you for sharing the story of your journey to find it and photograph it.

    13. David Fernando Chang Villacreses 11 months ago | reply

      "In the vast, deep forest of Hyrule... Long have I served as the guardian spirit... The children of the forest, the Kokiri, live here with me. Each Kokiri has his or her own guardian fairy. I am known as the Deku Tree... "

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