Arboretum Virtualis | XVII

Black and white tree forest landscape photography

Spanish Moss in Sunlight


When my wife and I drove from Canada to South Carolina, we ran into an arborist in Myrtle Beach.  I told him that Spanish moss was on my list of things to photograph.  He responded by telling me to take as much as I needed with me.  Well, South Carolinians may be tired of the moss hanging off of their trees but it doesn’t get old for me.

I didn’t physically take any moss home.  I wouldn’t dare try to get that past customs officials.  I, nevertheless, did succeed in making this HDR composition out of 19 photos shot in Myrtle Beach State Park.  The evening was setting in, and I was really drawn to how the fiery sunlight filtered through the scant amounts of moss that hung on what I believe was a very tall oak that I am not familiar with.  Plus, other elemental conditions of the natural environment, like the humidity bleached sky, provided me with an opportunity to create an image out of part of the forest canopy that is just slightly abstract and expressionist.

Focussing on these visual elements allowed me to experimentally direct attention away from the good earth, which is rare for a landscape.

18 thoughts on “Arboretum Virtualis | XVII

  1. Pingback: Elemental: Earth and Wind | What's (in) the picture?

    • Thank you. I live too far north in North America for it to grow but I’ve been interested in Spanish moss for years. I’d love to go to Florida or Georgia to make my own compositions of Spanish moss on cypresses.

    • Yeah, it seems they actually try to get rid of in in SC. Which explains why it was so hard to find in ideal locations for shooting.

      I hear, however, that Spanish moss is treasured in Savannah, Georgia. So, I may have to go there.

    • I think we did a bit for the last couple days before we drove back home. For most of the time, it was hot and dry. Humidity was much higher here in Hamilton which is typical but shortly before we theft there to return, the air felt like liquid on our skin.

      I find myself missing the slight taste of salt in the atmosphere. That just doesn’t exist around the Great Lakes.

    • Kim and I pondered going to Charleston but we decided to forego the extra 2 hour drive from Myrtle Beach. Probably the next time we’re down that way we’ll go. I can imagine the classic look to be there.

  2. I must admit I have no idea what distinguish Spanish moss from other kinds of moss. But I have always enjoyed the look of moss on trees. So I can understand your fascination for shooting moss, as in this example.

    • It’s definitely different for me. There’s nothing like it in Canada. Up here we have lichen and sphagnum right across the country.

      I’m also interested in a species called ball moss that is also native to the southern US. I didn’t see any when I was down there but hopefully on a future trip I will.

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