In 1998 American conservationist photographer James Balog undertook a six-year-long quest to photograph the largest, oldest, and strongest trees in North America. James began his project by setting up enormous portrait studios beneath the canopies of the forests he was visiting. But it didn’t take long for him to realize that his tree subjects were so incredibly large that a whole new method was necessary to photograph them properly:
"He devised a multi-frame approach of photographing the trees from the top down. The method was inspired by some of the lunar landing pictures from the NASA missions during the 1960s. Balog climbed each tree, and then meticulously photographed it in sections as he rappelled downward. Later, he created digital mosaics by stitching the images together using computer imaging software. Some images required up to four days of shooting, plus as many as six weeks of computer work to assemble the final composition."
His resulting photo series, published under the title Tree: A New Vision of the American Forest, is a beautiful and impressive achievement that helps give us a sense of just how awesome these trees are.
The two trees pictured here are: “Stratosphere Giant”, a Coast Redwood in Humboldt Redwoods State Park, CA. Standing 369.7 feet tall, it is the tallest tree on earth. The second tree is “Stagg,” a Sequoia located in Alder Creek Grove in Giant Sequoia National Monument, also in California. It is the fifth largest tree in the world. Look closely at these two mosaics and you’ll notice human figures climbings the trees, which emphasizes just how gigantic these trees are.
"These images stand as an artistic and symbolic reassembling of the continent’s long-lost primeval forests. Across the globe, the planet’s original tree cover has been altered so dramatically that we no longer remember what made nature natural."
Visit James Balog’s website to view more of his awe-inspiring environmental photography, including more photos from Tree: A New Vision of the American Forest.
[via My Modern Metropolis]