Mark Hirsch's arboreal observations led to a year-long photo project. This is the photo that started it all.

Sometimes a muse is a person. Sometimes it is a place. Mark Hirsch found his muse in a tree.

When Hirsch, an editoral photographer based in Iowa, first got his iPhone last year, he decided to finally snap a photo of a tree he had seen on his daily commute for 19 years. That photo (seen above) kicked off a year-long photo-a-day project revolving around what he lovingly refers to as "that tree."

Upon finishing his 365-day photo project on March 23rd of this year, Hirsch collected the images into a book appropriately titled That Tree

Careful not to fall into the trap of the same-photo-different-day paradigm of 365-day landscape projects, Hirsch's images of that tree are varied in composition—sometimes showing the tree in the context of the scenery around it, and sometimes focusing on the tiny details that make up the tree's ecosystem.

In an interview with the Denver Post, Hirsch revealed how the project affected him as a photographer and a lover of nature.

“I would describe that tree as I would a friend,” writes Hirsch. “My initial description a year ago would have been as simple as a tree in a corn field, but now I would describe it as a tree of life in its own realm.”

“I was never very good at slowing down but I am now. I’ve learned to see things differently. And I’ve embraced an incredible appreciation for the land in and around that tree.”

In a recent comment on Hirsch's Instagram page, he revealed his favorite apps. "I prefer Camera+ or ProCamera because they allow me to select focus and exposure points independently with an option to lock exposure and focus," commented Hirsch. "Mostly Snapseed for editing. Sometimes the built in toning algorithms in Camera+."

Without further ado, here are a few of out favorite photos of that tree. Some from the 365 project, some taken after the book's completion. Follow Hirsch on Instagram to see the latest photos of his muse.

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