Along the westernmost shores of the Bay Area lie the coastal hills of San Mateo, a northward extension of the Santa Cruz Mountains, running right up to the borders of San Francisco. The Bay side of the hills is all city, but thanks to earnest conservation efforts vast swathes of the west slopes are protected forests, grasslands and ranches.

The trail out to Vista Point in Skyline Ridge Open Space Preserve passes though rich dense woodlands, leaf covered forest floors, and a remarkable. Photographing trees is always a challenge if the light is not just right; best is a gentle even shade with no bright spots or deep shadows. And then there’s the tree trunks. For me it means quirming around to get just the right angle, with few overlaps, no dead branches, interesting colors, no bright sky.

They say photography is a matter of millimeters and sometimes even the tiniest shift in the viewing angle or position can make all the difference.