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Milky Way over Zion's "Lone Little Tree", Zion National Park. One exposure, with stationary light painting.

We all have challenges in life. This gnarled and struggling "Lone Little Tree" in Zion National Park has had more than its share! Perched atop a sandstone cliff that rises about 20 feet above its rock base, it continues to survive in a harsh desert climate (<15" rainfall per year). There are many other pine trees in the park, but they are rooted in soft soil, or they are at the base of ravine or large crack where rain water can funnel and drain to it —but this Little Tree is at the top!

My experiences with the "Lone Little Tree": Over the past few years this little tree has become a popular photo location in Zion National Park. When I first photographed it over 30 years ago, only a handful of people knew of its existence. My first photos were not as art, but as conceptual stock photography, which helped to feed and cloth my family. In those thirty years, I don't think this tree has grown more than a few inches, so my guess is that it may be well over a hundred years old. Its growth is so stunted by adversity that some refer to it as Zion's "Little Bonsai Tree". Last year, I used it as a location for a November NightScape workshop, placing the northern "tail" of the Milky Way behind it. This photo is from my recent May NightScape workshop, where the full glory of the Milky Way can align with this unique Little Tree.

There is a purpose to life, and I've wanted for many years to symbolize this in a photo that shows life's struggles and a connection with the universe our Creator has made for us.

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