According to my research it’s a Sycamore. It’s much lighter than any of the trees around it and the bark is very smooth and has interesting patterns. It’s also unusually symmetrical. I’ve always thought there was something different about this tree, but didn’t know exactly what it was. I recently read that the main trunk had broken off (maybe in a lightning strike) and I believe it’s this that gives the tree it’s “different” appearance.
I’ve taken pictures of this tree many times and liked none of them. I didn’t start off with high expectations today either. My wife has a dance class at 11:15 am on Saturday and I’m usually walking the dog between 11:30 and 1:00pm – hardly the best time of day for photographs: very bright harsh light with very high contrast leading to dark shadows. This time, however, the sun was hidden behind a layer of thin clouds which softened the light considerably. I also managed to find a better angle than I had before.