This crabapple bonsai has come a long way. Today it's planted in a rectangular pot by Chuck Iker. You can see his pottery here. He really is good.
I realize that this tree still has a long way to go. The taper would be better had I trunk chopped sooner. Looking back, I should have made the cut the day it was collected. A few years later and this is where we are, which I am ok with because over the years I have noticed that my taste in bonsai has evolved since I brought home my first tree (which is now dead).
In the beginning, I was initially attracted to bonsai because of my love for real, natural trees. My first tree was a dumb looking Chinese Elm and I loved the "sumo" trunks I kept seeing people post online. Over time I began to prefer taller trees, partly why I was so resistant to the trunk-chop that I somehow knew I would eventually do. It did give me a few years to really get to know this tree and that journey has been a pleasure. I covered the surface of the substrate with moss but I didn't like the photo as much.
The upper portion of the tree was rooted and is also doing well. I will post an update of that tree when it puts out a few more leaves as it seems to be a bit slower than its parent.