Panikos Photography Ltd


The Bristlecone Pines, in the White Mountains

Posted on December 1, 2010 by Panikos under Uncategorized

For some reason I’m putting the sequence that I did things in reverse order, I don’t really know why! But, the Bristlecone Pines in the White Mountains were literally awesome. These ancient trees can predate the giant redwoods by about 1,000 years! Some of them are truly majestic, some have been given names like “The Patriarch” which is reputed to be well over 3,000 years old, some say over 4,500 years! WOW! These trees grow in the most unforgiving environments you could imagine, at around 11,000 feet altitude, they endure ravaging winds and bitter winters. How do they live so long? Its just a miracle of creation. Enough chat though, here’s what they look like:

As you can see the texture of the wood is quite beautiful, some trees haven’t survived, but they still show their beauty even close up.

The grain within the boughs and trunks of these hardy trees is an artists dream, with rich colours and swirling patterns everywhere.

So many of the trees show signs of being burnt, with black charred trunks and branches – I can only imagine that a result of lightning strikes. Its very dry here in the summer – in the “rain shadow” of the Sierra Nevada mountains, which means there’s only 10-12 inches of rain here a year & most of that comes down as snow in the winter.

Knowing how long these trees live, it does make you wonder what the world will be like when saplings like the one above gets to reach a ripe old age? Just imagine, some of the older trees adjacent to this one could have been planted by a contemporary of King David of bible times!

Just to think, they start off from one of these.

Or one of these! Mind you, the pine cones above aren’t from bristlecone pines, but from another species of pine that grows further down the mountainside. Their colours are far more intense though, and the liquid dripping from them, isn’t water but a very sticky waxy gum that has a wonderful sweet smell to it.

As we drove down the mountainside, this panorama faced us as we came around a bend in the road, a rain shower lit up by the sun beneath the clouds, very unusual!

I had the above photo printed on fine art metallic paper, it seems to capture the mood of the shot so well, with the rain having an iridescence on the print that really brings it to life. By the way any of these images can be bought as fine arts prints, just drop me an email & I’ll get them done to the size & style of your choice.

It may have been that same shaft of sunlight that lit up the hillside here!

We finaly made our descent from the Bristlecone Pines, a really memorable day, freezing cold, bitter wind & fog, but oh, so rewarding. But as we turned back to see the White Mounains as dusk was approaching, this was the view that greeted us. Some sunlit peaks that almost look “normal” but that contain some real gems of creation, some of the oldest living things on earth.

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