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Submitted on
April 28, 2012
Image Size
31.5 MB
Submitted with


4,411 (7 today)
210 (who?)

Camera Data

Canon EOS 5D Mark II
Focal Length
17 mm
ISO Speed
Date Taken
Jun 11, 2011, 1:41:19 PM
Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4.0 (Windows)
Ponthus' Beech by gyaban Ponthus' Beech by gyaban
This is a very special photo to me. Trees inspire me much respect, especially old and venerable ones: they witnessed the past, and will probably see a far future, unlike me.

This particular tree is a legend by himself. He even has a name: Ponthus' beech. He lives in the BrocÚliande forest, in Bretagne (France), the one where many Arthurian legends occurred. One can also find Merlin's tomb here (well, at least one of them...). Different stories exist, but a common one is that Ponthus, a knight of the round table, lived in a castle there, somewhere around the 10th century. He was disappointed by the fact he had no child, and blasphemed about it. God punished him by destroying his castle in a storm, and the tree grew on its ruins.

While this tree is well known (he illustrates several photography books' covers), finding it is quite hard. Technically, he is located in a private part of the forest, theoretically forbidden to walkers. This is probably why very few information is available about his location. A long documentary research gave me several possibilities, which I entered as coordinates in a GPS device.

I then had to drive about 5h to reach the forest, and park on its side. This place is gigantic, and I met absolutely nobody. It was a fantastic experience to wander alone in these woods, exploring the locations possibilities in the hope of finding the mythical tree. I was quite lucky, and after only an hour of walk I was standing in front of it. I may be an emotional guy, but believe me, I was simply overwhelmed by the beauty of his shapes, the moss covering most of his trunk, and by the fact that he was the very only one of his kind (all the other trees in the area were straight, as you can see on the photo). I spent about 3h shooting it carefully, testing many angles, 3 different lenses, and waiting for the right light. Since the place was quite dark, I decided to use bracketing, which was extremely useful in post-processing to raise the dynamic range.

I really hope I will be able to go there many times again, and photography it at different seasons. It is quite a long day (mainly spent on the road), but it was so worth it. Did I mention I love this tree? :-)
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TessJa Featured By Owner Mar 6, 2014  Student Artist
Wow, this is stunning. Very inspirering indeed :D 
Wintella Featured By Owner Dec 2, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Exceptional story and exceptional tree and experience! Yes, luck was on your side, but I think that this tree has some real magical powers and that it chose to revel itself to you. Do you realize that you probably walked in some other dimension, one of those where Merlin is still alive :) Really nice shot! Thanks for sharing your story and this wonderful picture of yours!
pascal-prevost Featured By Owner Nov 25, 2013
Imposing :clap:
windinthehair Featured By Owner Nov 24, 2013  Professional Filmographer
Lovely colors, an unique tree... Is it fairytale or reality? It just unbelievable how beautiful it is! Thank you for sharing such georgous picture with us! It must get more attention...
DanielleMiner Featured By Owner Nov 16, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
wow amazing shot
Dr-Stain Featured By Owner Nov 16, 2013  Student
:love: :love: :love:
karliosi Featured By Owner Nov 16, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
FallOut99 Featured By Owner Nov 12, 2013  Professional Photographer
Fascinating! Heart 
SilverVulpine Featured By Owner Nov 12, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
Great capture. Very serene and pretty with some wonderful atmosphere. :)
John-Peter Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
Absolutely gorgeous! :clap:
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