Season Compare: Wye Oak

April 1, 2009 at 10:00 am 8 comments

When a tree is designated as a champion, is the honorary symbol of an entire state and lives for over 450 years, it is bound to show up in a few pictures here and there. The Library of Congress’s Digital Collection includes a Historic American Buildings Survey/Historic American Engineering Record. In it, a 1936 picture of the Wye Oak by E. H. Pinkering . It matches up nicely to a picture by Flickr user Leon Reed.

If you look closely at the latter shot, you’ll notice the missing limb on the bottom right of the tree. There are a number of support wires attached to the tree as well.

Wye Oak 1936
Photograph by E. H. Pinkering, 1936

Photograph Courtesy of Leon Reed

For more pictures of the Wye Oak, I recommend Leon Reed’s PhotoStream. He has numerous images of the Wye Oak over the years, including what’s left today.

Entry filed under: Maryland, Season Compare, trees, White Oak, Wye Oak.

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8 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Dave  |  April 1, 2009 at 12:59 pm

    I wondered how your photos would look if I could repeatedly swap one for the other. This got me thinking about how to do it with javascript. Here is the result after a few minutes of tinkering:

    You punch in the URL of each photo (the Wye Oak ones are preloaded as a test). The images get preloaded, then you click Swappify. One image should appear. When you mouse over the image, it should get swapped with the 2nd image. When you mouse away from the image, it should restore to the 1st image.

    I’ve only tested with a few browsers (Firefox, Safari, and IE7) so your results may vary. 🙂

    Works pretty well for your other season compare photos, such as and

  • 2. DNLee  |  April 1, 2009 at 1:25 pm

    Happy WW. That is a grand tree. Missouri has a similar thing – to celebrate big old trees…I think it’s called Champion trees. I must look it up.

  • 3. tgaw  |  April 1, 2009 at 2:39 pm

    @Dave – COOL! I’ve been curious about that since I saw the Mountain Lake – Before and After.


    P.S. I am tempted to steal your code and add Query String parameters to it so I can swapify via link. 🙂

  • 5. Dave  |  April 1, 2009 at 4:48 pm

    Here ya go:

    I updated it to accept query string parameters. Try clicking on one of the sample links.

    You’re welcome to steal the code and do whatever you want with it!

  • 6. Clint  |  April 1, 2009 at 7:07 pm

    add x/y offsets too — not every pic overlays the same pic a season later exactly 😀

  • 7. Dave  |  April 2, 2009 at 7:06 am

    OK, reload for the changes. Has offset support now. 🙂

    If I actually had any real skill, I’d make the photos draggable. Or add an alpha channel somehow to make the images semi-transparent so you can see how well they line up. And add a scaling feature, since the photos have to be at roughly the same size, and the same distance to the subject. Or add an auto-align/auto-scale that is smart enough to do everything for you.

    But I don’t have any real skill, so we’re stuck with my crude widget. 🙂

  • 8. chriggy  |  April 2, 2009 at 8:23 pm

    Auto align would actually not be that difficult. A simple auto-correlation algorithm would do it. But I have more important things to do now, like finding a job, so I can actually apply things like auto-correlaton algorithms 🙂


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