Finding Bark in the Park and Getting the Shaft


I participate in a photographer’s group online that offers a subject to photograph each week. Each image entered has its own meaning and visual appeal, so what better motivation than to shoot weekly with a group of pros?

Last week the subject was tree bark. The group usually shoots macro images, but I decided not to go in that direction this time. I also did it once before with a red cardinal when the subject was something red.

This time, it got my photo kicked off the site.

I used the photo above because, rather than showing bark in such a literal manner, I showed what bark can DO in my photo and the landscape. You can see how the textural bark of the tree gathers ice and snow in an artful and interesting way. But, the moderator did not see it that way and wanted just a photo of tree bark – not an image where the bark was secondary to the composition.


I find plain old bark, well, a bit ordinary in most cases. Unless of course it is a whole tree of bark!

After the week went on, the moderator left in dead trees with NO bark, entire colorful leafy trees, birds in trees, trees with faces stuck on, etc. – the theme became a free-for-all.


It does not pay to join early I found, but I keep doing it so as not to be influenced by the other photographers’ work.


Lots of sycamore bark photos were submitted too, and do I have sycamore.


Tamarack Tree, oh heck… the focus appears to be the Oak leaf, but then… anything could be in the tree.

A recent post, Winging It – Gulls in Flight Part 2, referenced the story Jonathan Livingston Seagull. I feel like that often where I want more.


Too many trees, then people entered forests…

I am not sure if I was the only one to have my photo removed.

Did you ever see the Soup Nazi on Seinfeld? I was reminded of this episode. So like the character of the show, I buckled under to play nice, but had to get in a little dig. I added my photo below. Does it not look like a kid sent to the corner wearing a dunce cap?


I submitted a second time and the caption read, “Tree Stump with Dunce Hat. Is this enough bark?” Apparently it was.


It is frustrating when the rules apply to some and not others. See how the snow mimics the bark?


I love this shot, but likely it would be rejected too, too much WINTER, yet then… some entered snow on trees.

Let heaven and nature sing”. Even if your song is sung differently, keep singing. Explore. Join a group taking photos to get your motivation energized. And don’t let others spoil your fun, no matter how they do it.


This week, the topic is “Coins”. I have a post coming up on that submission since that is the only way my photos will be seen. One person commented on quite a few Bark images, shifting them to the top of the heap and some of our “coins” images were buried.  Oh, to live and learn…

Saturday, see some photography I really like to do. Photographing the ordinary in a way you can’t be sure what you are seeing. Maybe I will get kicked off again if they ever do this subject!


About Garden Walk Garden Talk

I love to photograph, paint, draw, design, garden, travel the world, and pass on a few tips and ideas that I learned through experience as a Master Gardener and architect. I am highly trained in my field and enjoy my work each and every day. I garden in Niagara Falls, NY in zone 6-B. Find me at:
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27 Responses to Finding Bark in the Park and Getting the Shaft

  1. elmediat says:

    Wonderful shots. Definitely not barking up the wrong tree with this post. 🙂

  2. Such inspiring photos, my dear friend!! Thank you, once again! 🙂
    Have a happy Thursday! 🙂

  3. Yes others will always find away to put you down but photography is your thing so mess with them 🙂

  4. Sounds like someone with too much time on their hands who needs to be ignored. Great bark shots.

  5. lulu says:

    No rejection here! I love how you’ve captured the beautiful coldness and texture of winter.

  6. When rules apply to some but not all its a stupid power thing. (Politicians are a perfect example!) Anyway, I think your shots are great! I have been feeling a bit in a slump when it comes to my photography so I think your idea of joining a photography group is an excellent idea. Seeing your photos is always an inspiration!

  7. Sue Link says:

    Loved the photos Donna. The texture of the bark is so beautiful when the snow enhances it! Thanks for your encouragement to join a photography group!

  8. connie661 says:

    Exquisite photos! The moderator of that site probably wasn’t getting as many photos of the kind he or she wanted, so started allowing images that were at least close.

  9. alesiablogs says:

    It was so interesting to see your blog this am. I was considering writing a post on bark last week as I was looking at my Madronas out my window! Great minds think alike!

  10. Pat says:

    I love the way the snow looks on the bark.

  11. tufagirl says:

    Interesting judges at your photo site. Apparently only the literal neeed apply. You always have the best cardinal photos. I have been enjoying your winter photos until we got too much of it here in Texas. Glad for the pretty coin shot. 😀

  12. John Hric says:

    i like the layers in the ice cap on the tree stump. nice pictures.

  13. acuriousgal says:

    You keep entering your art and how you interpret it!!! Beautiful images as always, Donna

  14. Phil Lanoue says:

    You really found some outstanding subjects and made the most of it.

  15. Ha! No Soup For You!!

    Seriously though, I’m no photo expert, but if I was moderating I’d be looking for photos that show bark in a larger context – enhancing and being enhanced by that context. The photo you entered, as well as the last bark photo on your post, are stunning examples of this, the snow both echoing and emphasizing the tree trunk’s craggy surface.
    Anyways great post, beautiful photos.


  16. kerlund74 says:

    I do think that your first photo fits the theme “bark”. It shows with a great contrast to the snow!

  17. Emily says:

    Wow, that Moderator really has no imagination. Seriously! That first photo makes us look at bark in a different way–something the best photographs do. Ah well. And I love the image above the coins too (which is a gorgeous shot itself)! The effect the bark has on the snow is fascinating (and rather like cupcake icing, or maybe I’m just hungry) and the twiggy/limbs with the smooth snow are great contrasts. Love your work!

  18. All great images. Love the cardinal! I’ve been watching mine all week come to the feeder but so far it’s been too cold to get out and try to get pics of them. Blessings, Natalie 🙂

  19. Perhaps this is a case for those on-line viginantes of justice, Anonymous. But seriously, that sort of thing is very annoying. Some moderators can be strict constructionists one day and loosey-goosey the next, depending basically on how their mood. In any case you’ve got some amazing photos there. If I were in charge, I would post them all.

  20. Roger Brook says:

    You have an appreciative audience through your blog I would shaft them and stop submitting your photos. We would not say ‘shaft’ over here, it’s even mildly rude. We would be more likely to ‘take our bat home’
    Roger from York

  21. laflor5233 says:

    Keep doing your own thing!

  22. Diane says:

    As always, stunning photographs Donna. I love the one of the snow covered tree bark. And yes, I do see how the snow mimics the park. Rejected? Pshaw!

  23. I’ve never joined in those sort of sites but maybe it would extend my subject matter but then again I would be like you and would probably be shot for thinking laterally

  24. Karen says:

    What is the saying “you can please all the people all the time”. I think your photos are always terrific. 🙂

  25. Donna I love that last tree hot too…fabulous capture of snow imitating bark…you should enter that one.

  26. Fergiemoto says:

    I really like the snow covered bark photos! Very nice!

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