Dubuque Area Photographer Captures "That Tree" for 365 Days

By Katie Wiedemann, Reporter

GRANT COUNTY, Wisconsin - What started as a simple snap of an i-phone has turned into an international sensation for one Dubuque area photographer. Professional Photographer Mark Hirsch, has been taking pictures for more than 25 years. But his latest project had him snapping a photo of the same tree for an entire year.

Situated in the middle of a Grant County field, a 163 year-old Burr Oak tree stands tall, screaming for attention. Hirsch heard its cries. "I looked down at that tree. I've been driving by this thing for 20 years. "

In late winter, 2012 Hirsch purchased a new iPhone and chatted with a fellow photographer about it.

That photographer challenged him to use the phone to take a picture of the tree, everyday, for an entire year. Hirsch accepted the challenge. At first, it seemed easy. He focused on the tree, and the life that surrounded the towering beauty. "I remember saying to myself what have I gotten into? 245 more days, how am I going to do this?," said Hirsch.

Through the early rains of April, with the trees image captured in each droplet. Then into the sweltering dog days of summer, which bled into the rich, warm colors of an autumn evening. He even captured the tree's beauty in the crisp silence of old man winter. "It made me look with more appreciative eye at the simple things, " said Hirsch.

That simplicity caught a book publisher's eye. And now while the book isn't even printed yet, Hirsch is selling hundreds of copies to customers all over the world. It's that tree, that taught Hirsch a little lesson. "It's not the camera," said Hirsch, "it's the eyes behind it. "
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