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That Tree: An iPhone journal documenting a year in the life of a lonely bur oak by Mark Hirsch

by on January 28th, 2014

Where can a challenge take you?  For Mark Hirsch, a photojournalist, it can take you to a familiar location or in his case, to a very familiar tree, and change the way you look at everything.  For 19 years Mark drove by a the same farm field near Plattville, Wisconsin and looked at the same bur oak tree.  A friend texted him to try out the camera in his new iPhone, he did and he posted it on Facebook.

“At the time I never even considered using the iPhone camera for anything more than a passing snapshot,” recalls Hirsch. “As a result of her text though, I stopped and trudged through a crazy snowstorm to make a picture of the tree… A friend posted a note to me on my Facebook page saying ‘Dude, what’s with you and that tree, you should do a photo a day with it.’ On his challenge, I officially started the project on March 24, 2012.”

Hirsch spent the next year photographing That Tree every day, documenting the changing of seasons and sharing the tree’s hidden world with a growing Facebook following.”   Hirsch,  now has nearly 36,000 followers and published a magnificent book, “That Tree”. For everyone who enjoys fine photography and  the beauty of the nature, Mark Hirsch’s book is one to be savored and returned to again and again.   Perhaps the best way to describe the That Tree project is from Hirsch’s introduction to his book, “My relationship with That Tree has awakened a newfound vision, and appreciation for the fragility of our world and the interdependence of even the smallest of its creatures. In turn, this fresh insight has inspired my commitment to share my photos and encourage others to embrace land stewardship as a means toward a more sustainable use of our resources.”

“That Tree” might serve as an inspiration to you, maybe not to take a photograph of a tree everyday for a year, but to open your eyes to the natural world around you.

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