Bay Area photographer Beth Moon travels the world to find and photograph the most ancient trees on our planet—the elders. This timeless image is a portrait of one of the oldest living things on Earth—a bristlecone pine tree growing high in the White Mountains of eastern California.
Moon explains that the majority of these photographs were created during moonless nights, shot with a wide angle lens and ISO of 3200 to 6400. The Milky Way, a ribbon of stars that stretches from horizon to horizon, burns brightly in some of the images. Exposures up to 30 seconds allowed enough light to enter the lens without noticeable star movement. Each location required experimenting with different lighting techniques. Sometimes a short burst of diffused light from a flashlight was sufficient, or bounced light from multiple flashlights was used for a softer, more natural glow.
Beth Moon is a San Francisco Bay Area artist. Her richly toned, large-format platinum prints and digital color photography in archival pigment prints have earned international recognition with more than sixty exhibitions in the United States, Italy, England, France, Singapore, Dubai, Canada, and Brazil. Her work is published in prestigious magazines of many cultures, collected in institutions from the Fox Talbot Museum in England to the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, Texas. She has five photography books. This image is included in her book Ancient Skies, Ancient Trees, which includes the “Diamond Nights” series.