The Angel Oak

by | Jul 1, 2015 | Photography |

While we were at Folly Beach in June, Amy called Wendy and told her that I needed to go see this tree in John’s Island, SC. I did of course, and this is the shot that resulted.

It was after opening time for the park and I sat at a gate for a while before I figured out that my GPS (thanks Google) was trying to take me in a way that had a closed private gate. When I deduced my mistake, there were lots of people already there that would interfere with any good shot.

You can’t use a tripod underneath the canopy of the tree, so I set up far enough away not to get yelled at and and took some shots to get a feel for the light. With some patience, I finally got about 90 seconds with no people in the frame. I think there is one behind the tree.

In addition to the people, there are these huge signs everywhere that say “Don’t Climb on the Tree!”. The signs have signs on them that say “Don’t Move the Signs!”. It took some serious work in photoshop to delete all of those signs from the image.

I took 5 exposures from -2 to 0 to +2 and combined them for the finished result.

Many people will tell you that the tree is 1500 years old, but here is what Wikipedia says:

The Angel Oak Tree is a Southern live oak (Quercus virginiana) located in Angel Oak Park on Johns Island near Charleston, South Carolina. The Angel Oak Tree is estimated to be in excess of 400-500 years old. It stands 66.5 ft (20 m) tall, measures 28 ft (8.5 m) in circumference, and produces shade that covers 17,200 square feet (1,600 m2). Its longest branch distance is 187 ft.[2] in length. Angel Oak was the 210th tree to be registered with the Live Oak Society.

The oak derives its name from the estate of Justis and Martha Angel, and local folklore tells stories of ghosts of former slaves appearing as angels around the tree.

Despite the popular belief that the Angel Oak is the oldest tree east of the Mississippi River, there are many bald cypress trees throughout the south which are many hundreds of years older.