Recently pollarded willow, with ivy, along Swanshard Lane, southwest of Wells, on the Somerset Levels; 21 Mar 2012.

This roadside willow has been recently pollarded – that is, this tree’s upper branches have been cut off –  and its wounds gape white and fresh.  But the pollarder’s blade has passed inches above the ivy that creeps over this tree, which lies undamaged.

I was drawn by the stumps’ startling whiteness, and at once imagined them blazing forth in a low key image.  Seeing the ivy too brought it all together.

This tree is very far from being mortally wounded of course – as spring passes into summer, new twigs will sprout all over this shorn crown – which will be pollarded yet again in several years’ time.  See the Levels 1 post, here , for more on pollarding.

D700 with 80-400 Nikkor at 330mm; 800 ISO; conversion to mono, and toning and selective colour restoration, in Silver Efex Pro 2.


About Adrian Lewis
Photographer working in monochrome, colour and combinations of the two - with a great liking for all sorts of images, including Minimalism, landscapes, abstracts, soft colour, people, movement, nature - I like to be adventurous in my photography, trying new ideas and working in many genres. And I'm fond of Full English Breakfasts and Duvel golden ale, though not necessarily together.


  1. bluebrightly says:

    It’s an extreme looking practice, but willows thrive on it, right? I’ve noticed in this arborists seem to cut back branches fiercely, and it looks horrible for a while, but with the abundant rainfall and lack of long freezes, things grow amuck in these parts. So it works.


    • Adrian Lewis says:

      Yes, absolutely, willows (and other trees too) do very well by being pollarded, they just put out more branches as soon as warmer weather arrives – for a very long time here, pollarding has been a steady source of wood for fires and furniture. Actually, thinking about our garden, its quite hard to kill trees – cut them back to almost nothing and they’re still sending out fresh sprouts in the spring.


  2. wonderful light and shadow!


  3. Interesting light and dark. Fabulous as always, bud. XXX ATP XXX


  4. Helen Cherry says:

    This works very well Adrian… the paleness of the green perfect because it’s not glaring which often happens with selective colour.


  5. paula graham says:

    Yes, they look terribly mutilated but indeed spring back into life in springtime. Good photo, you made a ‘mundane’ subject look interesting with a certain beauty too.l


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