Paper birch (Betula papyrifera), Superior National Forest, Minnesota, USA
Minnesota’s North Woods are famed for the spectacular Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness butting up against the Canadian border. The forests and lakes are a haven for a great variety of wildlife, including wolves, black bears, moose, and deer. In the fall, the North Woods are awash in color as paper birches, oaks, and sugar maples become a mosaic of hues. In this panoramic shot of a grove of birches, a slight breeze stirs the leaves during a one-second exposure. The combination of sharp focus and blurred motion transforms a simple landscape into something reminiscent of an Impressionist work. Paper birch trees, also known as white birch, are native to the cool regions of the northern hemisphere. The birch’s flexible white bark can be peeled in a horizontal sheet from the tree. Native Americans traditionally made items such as canoes and baskets from this beautiful bark.