Tree of Eternity

A nearly 5000 year old Bristlecone Pine reaches up to the Milky Way near the 11,280 foot summit of one of California's White Mountains, lit by the single LED on the back of my iPhone during this exposure. Up at around 11,000 feet in California's White Mountains lie two groves of famous trees. Schulman Grove is home to the oldest trees known to man, many of which have been dated by growth rings and found to be around 4700 years old. The neighboring Patriarch Grove located 13 miles further down an ungraded mountain road, is home to the largest Bristlecone Pines in the world, also around 4000 years old.

This particular tree is nestled near the summit of one of the White Mountains, near the Methuselah Grove, home to the single oldest tree on earth. The exact location is a secret, to protect these magnificent ancient living things. Some of the trees in this grove were around two thousand years before the birth of Christ. They were witness to the pre-columbian era in America, the revolution, the civil and world wars, the great depression, and every decade since.

The light of the stars alone was bright enough to enable me to hike up this mountainside cross-country in the dark of night. I light painted this tree for only a few seconds with only the light of the single LED on the back of my iPhone, and this image is presented here as it came off my camera, free of any significant post processing.

As I sat there on the ice cold mountain top alone in incredibly pure darkness and silence photographing these ancient icons, the only sound anywhere was that of the click of the shutter. The Milky Way took my breath away.