When you turn a camera on Angophora costata, they'll seem to be performing for you.
But I can't photograph how they really look to someone hiking the forests around Sydney. The curious color and what I can only call a vaguely animal presence, especially when seen in the very corner of your eye. They are the kind of tree that makes you feel the forest is watching you, maybe even making jokes about you behind your back.
Flesh-colored would be the easy term, though of course they weren't that until 1770 when people of that color arrived. But I'm of that color, so I'm ready to see human arms waving in the forest.
Saturation is a challenge. Did I exaggerate the color in the pic above, or understate it below? Who knows. Angophora is one those complex sense-impressions that never quite comes through in a photo.
I'm fond of this image of an Angophora flowing over a rock. You can sense the curious roughness of the bare surface, again fleshlike, and perhaps a bit feminine
Like the closely related Eucalyptus, Angophora often makes a big show of shedding bark. It surrounds itself with a deep mound of slowly-decaying matter, as though preparing its own pyre. The shedding happens mostly right at the base, leaving the distinctive bare trunk.
So I frequently find myself dealing with an Aussie tree by studying the litter below it. Sometimes this happens becuase the tree is huge and its foliage is lost in the canopy. With Angophora, well, the rich textures of the droppings suggest that they, as much as the towering form, can tell me what this thing really is.