Mark Hirsch was a professional photographer and editor who suffered a couple of crippling blows in life; first, being laid off from a job he loved editing photos for an Iowa newspaper, and then being literally hit by a truck. For CBS News, he wrote:
After the crash, I was unable to work. I had trouble sleeping . . . memory issues. I lost my drive and ambition. I was irritable and short with the family I love.
Then I got an iPhone -- not to take pictures with, of course. What self-respecting photographer would do that? Well, a friend and photographer I respected had, and suggested I give it a try.
My first picture: A 160-year-old Bur Oak tree sitting in a cornfield near my Wisconsin home. I had driven past that tree every day for 19 years, but I had never really looked at it.
That would change!
I decided to make a photo of that tree every day for a year -- before sunrise, after sunset, anytime, really. I was there, waiting and watching, taking note of the simple beauty I had missed for so long.
A darting blackbird . . . a nest of eggs . . . the full moon setting.
The valley of that tree became for me a foreign land full of strange and wonderful discoveries: a katydid, backlit by the sun; a moth camouflaged against the tree's bark; a firefly painting a yellow brushstroke as it flew past my lens.
I'm a sucker for "a tree saved me," having experienced that myself (less dramatically). Thank you, Mark Hirsch, for noticing...and thanks to "That Tree."