Tanja Barnes


The Spirit Tree of Joplin, Missouri

Spirit Tree - Joplin, MO
The Spirit Tree of Joplin, Missouri

The “Spirit Tree,” was one of the many trees in Joplin, Missouri destroyed by a deadly tornado that struck on May 22, 2011. This 40′ tree on 20th Street near the Kansas City Southern Railway tracks was painted with vibrant colors inspired by Native American spirit stick art. It was done by Dolores and Darrel Bilke and members of the Tank, a public art group that has worked on other public murals in the city.

The young woman beneath the tree is my niece, a student and an artist, whose most recent work was featured at the SEK Art Fest 2013 and sponsored by the Joplin Globe.

Last year, I originally posted this image as a 360° panorama. In today’s blog post I’ve taken the same image and manipulated it into what’s known as a “little planet” or “stereographic” projection wherein a equirectangular image (such as my panoramas) is wrapped around itself using the “polar coordinates” filter in Photoshop to create a circular image that seems to wrap the panorama around a planet. Hence the name “little planet”.

You can also achieve the same effect with Gimp if you’re inclined to open source image editing.