August 24, 2014

Tree of Life

Photograph by Jeff Nelson, National Geographic Your Shot

Tourists flock to a lone tree along the path of Hadrian’s Wall in northern England. Built between 122 A.D. and 128 A.D., the wall spans a 73-mile neck of land between the Tyne and the Solway Firth—a solid northern boundary for the entire Roman Empire. It’s often considered the most important relic of Roman rule in Britain.

"I wanted to get the photo without people, but that wasn't possible," says photographer Jeff Nelson. "In the end, I feel they give the photo better perspective."

This photo was submitted to Your Shot. Check out the new and improved website, where you can share photos, take part in assignments, lend your voice to stories, and connect with fellow photographers from around the globe.

38 comments
Roger Sullivan
Roger Sullivan

one tree standing in mouth of the valley, the giant, standing guard, protecting the valley of the rock people....

Just makes one wonder what takes place, under the full moon with no humans around....just imagine what it would look like, with moon rising in the background casting a shadow down the length of the canyon. the rock people making there way up to the ancient giant, protector of the sacred land....

Mei Fang
Mei Fang

I bet this photo will not be chosen it did not capture the people. This is such an uplifting photo.

Elaine B.
Elaine B.

Trees are so beautiful!!! They help our planet's environment out!!! 

Daniel McClellan
Daniel McClellan

The place is known as Sycamore Gap, but I like the association the title makes with the ancient notion of the axis mundi or world navel (umbilicus mundi). The photo shows four distinct lines converging on the tree, which has what almost looks like an altar before it. It's missing only a freshwater spring and it would be a stereotypical ancient temple. The people highlight the contemporary sacredness of the spot, even if it's a different kind of sacred. 

Vilma Zurc
Vilma Zurc

A lovely scenery throughout photos we are able to move round the globe. Thank you for share and thank you National Geographic who made this possible.

Janice H.
Janice H.

Wonderful photo!      Would love to see this in person.        I love the way this has been captured.       What stories this wall could tell!         Amazing that certain things can stand so many centuries.    

Imaculada Figueiredo
Imaculada Figueiredo

I like everything that is part of NATURE; Consigoainda not realize how HUMAN like to destroy.

Madhumita Pal
Madhumita Pal

Beautiful shot !!!

The people do give an added dimension to the composition ... 

Judy Batson
Judy Batson

I am a bit disappointed that the story accompanying the photo did not explain anything about the tree.... other than it is a lone one.  The history of the wall is one thing, but that poor tree needs to have its story told. 

Commentary Fortytwo
Commentary Fortytwo

I love it with all the people. It makes you wonder why they are photographing that lone tree, like some sort of pilgrimage. Photos that make you ask questions are the best. If it were just a picture of a tree with no people it would not be so intriguing. This way there are not only questions about the tree and how it got there, the wall and what it means, but also about who are these people out in the middle of nowhere and why are they taking all those pictures. Cool. 

Wendy M.
Wendy M.

Stunning photo! Such a rich piece of history. And if I'm not mistaken, Kevin Costner and Morgan Freeman sat under that tree in Robin Hood :)

sreedhar nivarthi
sreedhar nivarthi

I love the landscape and clarity of the photograph. The picture philosophically depicts that one is always alone at the crossroads.

Yolanda Patterson
Yolanda Patterson

It must have been an amazing sight to see it back when but at the same time for me, at least it represents a new beginning after Rome fell for all those that were enslaved and kill for entertainment. 

Donna Tanner
Donna Tanner

Ask them to step aside momentarily... I think a picture without the people would be prettier.

michael burke
michael burke

Removing the folks in bright clothing would distract less from the main element.

Joy Saldanha
Joy Saldanha

A great shot of a place that has spanned time for many, many years.One can almost replace the people around with roman soldiers in their full regalia, as it was then. The alone tree, against the sky is truly eye catching.A wonderful picture.  j.e.s.......... 

Sara Boddery
Sara Boddery

I agree with Denis C. What kind of tree is it? How old is the tree?

Denis C.
Denis C.

I'm not very good at trees. Someone could supply the information as what kind it is? I think oak, but this is a guess only.

James Bishop
James Bishop

Great photo, I love taking photos of trees, theres something special about trees

Ruth Aguiar
Ruth Aguiar

More than perspective, people add a size reference. Excellent photo.and beautiful place.

jeff nelson
jeff nelson

@Judy Batson It was featured in a recent movie Robin Hood.......Prince of Thieves.......its older story must be that of years of fascinated visitors to this amazing wall.......the tree was seen from afar and captured our interest ......

Gosia Dul
Gosia Dul

The tree is often placed in a movie as a symbol of new life, a better one. Let's see a new film The Giver-they see a tree behind clouds...

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