Unlike today's tripods, which permit multiple angles, those of Carleton Watkins's day allowed only limited maneuverability. The radical perspective employed when he photographed these treetops required placing the camera on its back after the plate was coated and fitted into place. By masking the corners of this image, Watkins amplified the tree trunks and emphasized their organic character.
As Watkins's career progressed, he developed more experimental ways to take photographs. His New Series, images taken after 1876, reflected the technical and aesthetic growth that took place in the fifteen or so years that elapsed since he began as a daguerreotype operator.