Summer is winding down and my photo shoots have been as diverse as always. This is a selection from some some of those shoots, as well as recent published materials. Looking at the photos reminds me that the best part of the work is visiting new places.
I was excited when the Sonoran Institute recently sent me to photograph their Colorado River Delta restoration project in Baja California, Mexico. The Sonoran Institute is a U.S. non-profit that works to
The year 2014 seemed to involve a string of amazing photo shoots and travels. For me the real highlight was settling into my new home in Tucson and reconnecting to the landscape and people around the South West. Looking back over the year I discovered there were many occasions where conversations and ensuing connections with people led me down creative roads I might not have otherwise explored.
I'll share one of those encounters. A magazine assignment for Arizona Highways sent me to Mexico to photograph scientist Fransisco Zamorra who works for the conservation group the Sonoran Institute. In the course of the shoot Fransisco, who is also an avid wildlife photographer, introduced me to the Colorado
I learned several things on this 5 day hike through the West Clear Creek Wilderness in Arizona. I learned that whereever there is water in Arizona things will grow and that when the water flows year-round things will grow in profusion. Hiking into this wilderness I guess I just didn't expect so much greenery. The cool water and flora was a great relief from the shoots I have been doing in the scorching desert heat of Southern Arizona.
The object of this trip was to follow and photograph a team of botanist doing a plant survey of the entire wilderness area. This two year project is headed up by grad student Wendy McBride from the University of Northern Arizona. So far she has collected nearly a thousand plant specimens and it's expected the collection will grow to over 2,000 or more by the time she is done.
This was a remarkable team of scientist who were all very adept at working and moving in this rugged
In an article in today's New York Times about rising water levels on the East coast of the U.S. I was reminded of a shoot I did last year in Australia to document the same subject. Taken in Sydney, Australia my photo illustrates where normal ocean levels will be by 2050. I shot this photo during a King Tide event. Amazing to imagine 35 years from now, during a similar high tide event, the ocean water will completely submerge this outdoor pool.
This past year National Geographic asked me to document tall trees in Tasmania, Australia. It was a fantastic experience spending time in the giant eucalyptus forest with tall tree scientist Dr.Steve Sillett and other tree and forest experts. We climbed several 80 to 90 meter tall eucalyptus trees. I also had a chance to spend time in a protest tree with environmentalist Miranda Gibson. She spent a record 457 days in a tree platform 65 meters up in an Alpine ash.
The best moment during my 5 weeks in the forest was one morning watching the scientist in a 500 year old Eucalyptus regnans located in the Florentine Valley. The photo here is from that morning.
This photo is not in Australia it's actually 7,000 miles away in Utah's southern high desert country. I brought this photo out to show to science writer and author Karen McGhee. A couple of weeks ago Karen and I were
The news is just in the tree, an Eucalyptus regnans or mountain ash as it is commonly called, is named Black Beard. Brett Misfud reports that it has a volume of 248m3 and is located in the Toolangi State Reserve outside of Melbourne, Victoria. As fate would have it I was in the tree the day it was being measured last month. There are still people out there searching for other big trees.
Tom Greenwood above with the help of Grant Harris is doing trunk diameter measurements at intervals along the length of Black Beard.
Looking down at Brett who is measuring the base of Black Beard
Grant Harris exploring the beautiful environment of massive limbs 20 meters below the canopy of the Black Beard tree.
Brett who made the discovery of Black Beard is seen here at the trees massive base. He is clipped to a static 8mm fixed rope and is about to make the climb into the canopy to begin the measuring.
After Melbourne's devastating fires of Black Saturday, that killed mainland Australia's tallest known trees, tree hunters like Brett Mifsud and others were on the lookout to discover new giant trees in Australia. I joined them last week to climb a newly discovered giant tree in a forest miraculously left untouched by the 2009 fires. The tree discovered this year by Brett and named Black Beard is a remnant tree, one of just a few scattered survivors, of the 1939 fires that swept through Victoria and the trees of Toolangi State Forest.
Brett led a group of four tree climbers and myself into the forest north of Melbourne. The trip was intended to make an accurate height and volume measurement of this giant. When we reached the tree it would take the team half a day of rigging rope, climbing and measuring to confirm if the tree would set a new record for an Australian giant. The measurements are made using an actual tape measure from the top of the tree to the ground and making many trunk and limb diameter measurements as well.
Black Beard is massive and distinct from the surrounding smaller trees that germinated after the 1939 fire. The trunk of Black Beard has a diameter just off the ground of about 12 meters. The photo above is of a climber 10 meters off the ground. The image below is about 60 meters up in Black Beard. This eucalyptus mountain ash is estimated by Brett to be about 400-450 years old.
Tree climbers in this group have many reasons for climbing trees, but they all agree they share a passion for exploring the forest and climbing the biggest and tallest trees.
In this photo Brett ascends the tree past curtains of hanging bark a feature that inspired him to name this tree.
By the end of the day Black Beard measured to be 72 meters tall and having a volume of about 230 cubic meters. This does not make Black Beard Australia's biggest tree, but it's discovery is significant and adds to the record of living giant trees in Australia and the ancient remnant giants in Toolangi State Forest. According to Brett there are still more giants out there waiting for discovery.