Photographing the Amazing Garry Oak Tree

This is a shot of a Garry Oak at Pipers Lagoon in Nanaimo BC. It illustrates one of the characteristics of this tree; the ability to bend, move on the ground or take whatever shape it needs. This, of course is one of the reasons it is so photogenic. Click on image for large view.

From Vancouver Island Wilderness and Historical Conservation:Garry Oak EcosystemsThe Garry Oak ecosystem ranging from Nanaimo to Sooke is the only substantial habitat of its kind remaining in Canada. The foundation of these systems, the Garry Oak, is not listed as a threatened species in BC, but it is estimated only 5% of the area once covered is remaining. The plant and animal assemblage surrounding these trees is unique, with more plant species present in this ecosystem than in any other in BC. As well, the Garry Oaks support more than 100 species of birds, 7 amphibians, 7 reptiles, and 33 mammals, making them an invaluable part of Vancouver Island’s biological landscape.

This blog is about the Garry Oak from a photographer's perspective but with some context provided. I am not an ecosystem expert but will provide links for those interested in a more detailed view. This is the first photo/article but more are coming for the Garry Oak.

The following map shows the main locations of existing Garry Oak ecosystems:


From: Garry Oak Meadow Preservation Society

Aboriginal people tended the Garry oak ecosystems, using fire and cultivation as management tools. The edible bulbs of camas and other species were the focus of the plant harvest. So important were these plants that the Victoria area was originally known as Camosun, or "place to gather camas."

Some Camas flower shots (click on for large):

From a photographers view the Garry Oak is a spectacular tree. To conclude this first article on this topic I offer a few more images; remember to click on the image for to view a nice large version. 

This image is an on-going panorama project. It consists of many images stiched together using my new pan tripod head. I will do another blog in a month or two (I'm learning) to explain the technique and show the results. This is a very large Garry Oak in the Nanaimo River eastuary and shows the branch shapes without the leaves. I plan to catch the leaves coming out soon.

To conclude a view of Pipers Lagoon with a Garry Oak on the hill.