Anyway, I had the opportunity to observe him at work and took some reference shots... all these sketches are on A3, using a variety of conte and hard pastels.
When the tree has plenty of clearance all around, or has grown in the wilderness, its much easier to chop off and indiscriminately drop branches to the ground. In congested urban areas, these poor trees must fight for space with myriad cables, wires, antennae and stuff. One careless chop, and a branch can take out the electric supply of the entire neighborhood! This man displays breath-taking skill in not only chopping off an errant branch with the utmost economy of motion, but also in slowly and precisely sliding the cut branch to the ground, avoiding all nearby structures. And to do this, he uses nothing more than a rope, which is rigged into a pulley mechanism with some other branch. I think he's an artist!
This is how he (roughly shown) ties the rope to the segment to be cut, at the top and the bottom, and then starts chopping closer to the bottom (arrow mark). When the branch drops, it remains suspended by the rope, without dropping on someone's head. Then he uses the makeshift pulley to precisely slide it down. I asked him if he's taught his children any of his skills, and he replied none of his sons can even climb a tree!