Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Where to See Photogenic Oak Trees in Paso Robles, California

A Review of Some Notable Oak Trees in Paso Robles


The name Paso Robles literally means Pass of the Oaks when translated from the Spanish. And, of course, Paso Robles was Spanish before it was American. I'm guessing the oak tree population was greater than the human population before the town began. Some oaks are three times higher than the homes and businesses they live beside. Photographing them can be a challenge because of their size alone.

Although you can't walk far in Paso Robles without seeing at least one oak tree, certain areas seem to have some of the oldest or most unique oaks. I'd like to show you where to find them and show you some photos. Some of these oaks are so huge and so surrounded by buildings that it's hard to get far enough away from them to get their entirety in a photo.

Downtown Paso Robles


Where to See Photogenic Oak Trees in Paso Robles, California
The Oak in the Road, 5th and Vine, Paso Robles


The Oak in the Road


All of our downtown area is not commercial. There are some residential areas only a block or two from the commercial part of downtown. One of the streets there has so many oaks they named it Oak Street. The reason why is obvious if you take a stroll along it. This residential area often has deer in its crosswalks at dusk a block from the commercial area.

It appears when they built Fifth Street,  the city fathers left the oak you see above intact. This tree was measured by Phil Dirkx in May, 2015. At that time he found the trunk was 23 feet around at five feet above the ground. He estimated it was ten feet in diameter. A photo taken in c. 1886  shows a tree that appears even larger than this one at a Paso Robles picnic. So we know these trees have been around a long time.

Here are some other photos of the Tree in the Road.

Where to See Photogenic Oak Trees in Paso Robles, California
Oak Tree on Corner of 5th and Vine, Paso Robles, Looking South

Where to See Photogenic Oak Trees in Paso Robles, California
Oak in Fifth Street. Notice Branched Trunk
The photos above  give you an idea of how huge this tree is. Compare it to the cars and the houses. You can also see how the tree has been pruned and trimmed over the years. These photos were taken in the last week of October when both leaves and acorns were dropping onto the street. There is room on both sides of the tree for cars to drive past. Think of the tree as a unique center divider as cars enter this block or leave it.

Where to See Photogenic Oak Trees in Paso Robles, California
Looking up at the Sky through the Leafy Branches of the Oak. 

In the photo  above I aimed the camera straight up to look at the sky through the tree's canopy.

Where to See Photogenic Oak Trees in Paso Robles, California
Details in the Bark of an Old Oak, Trimmed through the Years
Above you can see every detail in the bark of this old oak. It has been trimmed and pruned as needed through the years. You can see some fresh scars where smaller branches have been removed, as well as older scars where there were once large branches.

When I left to photograph these trees, I expected to also get photos of another tree in the middle of Oak Street between Fourth and Fifth Street that I have often driven around in the past. Sadly, this time there was only a stump. It appears the tree recently was removed.

Show your friends this amazing tree by sending them the postcard below. Just click on the image to get purchase information at Zazzle. Oak in the Road in Paso Robles Postcard


More Oaks Near Downtown Paso Robles


These photos were taken on 12th Street, one of the main east/west streets downtown. My dentist has an office there in one of the old homes. Both businesses and residences locate on 12th Street. I have focused on the oak trees near residences in these photos. This photo was taken in spring. I couldn't help the fact that it was trash pickup day the day I went walking after my dentist appointment.

Where to See Photogenic Oak Trees in Paso Robles, California
Tall Oak on 12th Street West of Spring Street

The sheer size of the these oak trees makes them hard to fit into one shot because there's no way you can get far enough away from them unless they are on a corner. The house above isn't.  The house below is, but it's still hard to get all those branches into the shot. Some of these oaks seem to have tentacles rather than branches and they seem to reach everywhere as their branches curve. 

This photo also presents one of the other problems with getting ideal shots of anything tall or high, such as a sunset. There are wires almost everywhere downtown. It's hard not to capture them because they always seem to be in the way.


Where to See Photogenic Oak Trees in Paso Robles, California
Oak Trees on 12th and Chestnut in Paso Robles

Oaks Right Downtown

We have oak trees right next to some of our most important city government buildings in close proximity to the shopping center of downtown. Here are some of them. I have captured many of them on my Zazzle products. Some of our most beautiful oaks are in the parking lot of the train station. I have photographed the one on Velta Circle many times. You can see some of the best in this blog post: Photos of North County Transport Center Buses.  Here's another of some different oaks in the parking lot. 

Where to See Photogenic Oak Trees in Paso Robles, California
Oak Trees in Transport Center Parking Lot in Paso Robles, © B. Radisavljevic

The tree below is also very close to the train station on Pine Street, though not in its parking lot. Below is the larger view of this unique oak tree. 

Where to See Photogenic Oak Trees in Paso Robles, California


Below you see more of the tree in a smaller size. 

Where to See Photogenic Oak Trees in Paso Robles, California
Arching Oak Near Train Station in Paso Robles, © B. Radisavljevic


The oak below lives next to the Paso Robles Library entrance. You will often see patrons reading in its shade or homeless people napping on the benches. The library building is two stories tall, so that gives you an idea as to the size of the tree. 

Where to See Photogenic Oak Trees in Paso Robles, California
Oak in Front of Paso Robles Library, © B. Radisavljevic


The Zazzle postcard below shows the courtyard in back of the Superior Courthouse building downtown. Just click on it for more information. You can see it has its share of old oaks. 




These are in an alley downtown. Sure wish they'd put those wires underground, but they can't afford to.

Where to See Photogenic Oak Trees in Paso Robles, California
Oak in Paso Robles Downtown Alley, © B. Radisavljevic

Oak Lane in East Paso Robles


Oak Lane is a rural street that's right behind the tract where I live. It is full of small farms and amazing oak trees. It is just past the intersection of South River Road and Charolais Road. It runs between South River Road and the property next to the Salinas River. It's a nice walk for those who like to see farm animals of all kinds and some gorgeous oak trees. And oaks aren't the only trees you will see -- just the most impressive. Here's one of them. As you can probably tell, this tree was taken in winter. That's my favorite season for photographing deciduous oaks. I like seeing their "bare bones."

Where to See Photogenic Oak Trees in Paso Robles, California
Oak Tree on Oak Lane as Sundown Approaches, © B. Radisavljevic


Linne Road Oak Trees


Linne Road is accessed from Sherwood Road in Paso Robles and twists a bit before continuing east toward Sculpterra Winery and other farms and vineyards. It is worth the short drive from the city for those who love oak trees. I have featured some of my photos of a damaged oak on Linne, what I call a tree with character, in this post, Looking at Deciduous Oaks in Winter. Here I will just show you one shot I took on this country road. The oak tree itself is so huge I can't get it all into the shot. It was this owl metal sculpture that made me notice it first.

Where to See Photogenic Oak Trees in Paso Robles, California


You can see the tree has already done a number on the fence. I guess the owl is keeping an eye on it. The tree extends far behind and next to the owl on the other side. Even the eye can hardly see the entire tree at once.

I did notice another oak not far from this one. It was just outside one of the farms. It appeared to be hollow. So I looked inside.

Where to See Photogenic Oak Trees in Paso Robles, California
Hollow Oak Tree on Linne Road in Paso Robles, © B. Radisavljevic

The Tree That Lives Across the Street


I hope you've enjoyed this brief tour of some of Paso Robles' most  interesting old oaks. I never get tired of discovering and photographing new ones. Of course my favorite is the one that lives across the street from me. I like to photograph it best at sunset. This was taken in winter.

Bare Oak in Winter Sunset, © B. Radisavljevic

Below it is not  so bare.

Not So Bare Oak in Summer Sunset, © B. Radisavljevic

Which tree did you like best?

Fellow contributor Mary Beth Granger also loves photography and is very good at it. I especially enjoyed her post Explore St. Louis: The Gateway Arch. 

See all reviews here related to photography. 



Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

10 comments:

  1. The oak trees in Paso Robles are magnificent! I was sorry to hear that one you planned to photograph had been removed. Such a shame. It is obvious that your city loves their oak trees and I suspect it is always a difficult decision to cut one down for any reason. It really is neat to see the SUV across from the oak tree at the corner of 5th and Vine. We only think we design beautiful things (like cars and houses), but they simply can't compare with the natural beauty that are our gifts from God.

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    1. The most beautiful things man can make have nothing on a majestic oak tree or an iris or rose in bloom. (My opinion, of course.) I was amazed to see that oak gone. I was used to driving around it, but it's possible someone collided with it and damaged it too much to save, or it could have had a disease and been about to come down. I suppose its roots might also have been intruding on something important.

      Our city really does love its oaks, and so do I. Actually, our whole county loves oaks. Before I lived here I lived in Thousand Oaks, which also had lots of oak trees, but I think they got rid of most of them as the urban part grew. Here builders have to plan the buildings around the oaks and it takes a permit and a lot of red tape to get it if the oak you want to remove is more than eight inches in diameter. I have to keep a careful eye on all those little acorns that sprout in my flower beds.

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  2. Such interesting photos of oak trees, Barbara. You have created a whole series in this theme, which is wonderful to see all together in one article.

    Are the oak trees in Paso Robles the same as the California Live Oaks (or Coast Live Oaks) you see along the California Pacific Coastline often growing leaning and/or bent over from the exposure to the coastal winds? I know there are many different varieties of Oak trees. Your photo collages always make me miss California. :-)

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    1. Some are the California Live Oaks. We have a lot of Valley Oak, Coast Live Oak, Cork Oak, and Holly Oak. I haven't done as much detective work as I should have, but I know those trees are abundant here. We have evergreen oaks and deciduous oaks.

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  3. There is nothing as majestic as an old tree that has been taken care of over the years. They just reach up to the sky and make me feel so blessed to have them here on earth with me. Boy I wish these trees could talk, imagine the stories they would have to tell.....

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    1. These oaks have seen a lot of history. Many were here to greet the first Spanish missionaries and still live on at the California missions.

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  4. You have a wonderful eye for Oak trees! I always love seeing your new posts!

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    1. Thank you for those kind words. I love finding these trees and taking their pictures.

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  5. Barbara! Those are gorgeous trees. I especially like the Fifth Street oak tree. So cool!

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  6. Absolutely spectacular. Your photos are gorgeous too. I'm so sorry for the fires in California and was wondering if your community was at risk. Sure hope everything is ok there.

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