While walking along the beach of the Baltic Sea in Northern Germany, I noticed two driftwood trees lying around. I had the idea to drag them into the water and take some long exposure photos with a neutral density filter to give the water a silky smooth appearance. However, when I later returned with my brother we quickly found out that these trees are quite heavy and we couldn’t really move them all the way into the water.
Our next idea was to get one tree to stand up straight so it would look at least a bit like it had grown on the beach. At first, that didn’t really work either because there were still large parts of roots attached to the tree so we couldn’t move it into a stable position. Digging a hole in the sand also didn’t work because then the sand was too soft to support the tree.
Ultimately, we succeeded by digging a hole next to and half way under a heavy boulder and then placing the root of the tree against the boulder before filling up the hole with stones and sand. The whole endeavor took us almost an hour. But we had successfully planted a dead tree on the beach of the Baltic Sea.
I played around with a few different compositions and settings for the picture, mostly to try out the neutral density filters I had bought for the trip. The above photo is a 20 second exposure through a 3-stop ND filter. I toned down the color saturation during post processing to give the photo exactly the bleak, cold look I had in mind when taking this shot.
The tree didn’t seem to be very stable in it’s place so we went back the next morning to check up on it – and sure enough, it had fallen over. Maybe I’ll plant a real, living tree somewhere someday, but it’s not on my bucket list.