Solstice though it may be, this is nothing like the bright and open woods of midwinter, when the low sun floods the leafless trees and blue shadows craze the snowy ground. In the midsummer woods, small patches of sunlight appear, inch across the forest floor, and fade out. A photographer searches first for available light, and only then for subjects. These Indian pipes that were all aglow one moment were in shadow again before I could change the settings on the camera. One shot was all I got.
I was pleased to see a favorite burl illuminated. Grotesque arboreal bulges and hollows may be easier to spot in the winter, but they gain in mystery and significance when surrounded by the noisy, fecund life of high summer. What might have seemed as inert as the head of a mannequin now appears to pulse, the tree’s extruded heart — until the sun moves on.
Funnel spider webs are everywhere. In full sun, their layers of silk act as prisms, capturing not just insects and bits of leaf dropped by caterpillars, but every color of the spectrum as they vibrate back and forth in what passes, this time of year, for a wind.