Steve Pearce's unique method returns breathtaking results in this image of the 250-year-old blackbutt.
Steve Pearce's unique method returns breathtaking results in this image of the 250-year-old blackbutt. Steven Pearce

Photographer's incredible shot of tree to be felled

A WELL-KNOWN Tasmanian photographer has spent several painstaking days climbing great heights to capture the perfect image of a 250-year-old tree located near Bellingen, which is set to be logged under new laws.

As part of The Tree Projects, Steve Pearce travels to various locations to create his 'tree portraits' that are comprised of numerous images blended into one, offering a unique 360 degree view from within the tree.

For Steve's latest portrait (below) he chose a tall blackbutt tree located in a patch of old growth forest between the Bellinger and Kalang valleys.

He stitched together a total of 44 images.

Steve's interest in the area was sparked after seeing photos of the forest on the Facebook page of a local member of the Bellingen Environment Centre, Jonas Bellchambers.

"It's one of the only good patches of old growth in that area of the horseshoe, and it straddles a ridge in the headwaters of the Kalang river," Mr Bellchambers said.

"Locals and members of The Bellingen Environment Centre have been spending more time out there exploring ever since FCNSW announced plans to log the area. So far we have found endangered Rufous Scrub Birds, Koalas, and some massive trees. It's just a rare little ecosystem that stands out in the area."

According to the Bellingen Environment Centre, The NSW government's recently approved native forest logging changes will see many areas, including Boot Hill where the blackbutt tree is located, logged.

Mr Pearce used a complex method involving pulleys and multiple cameras, spanning over several days, to capture his portrait of the blackbutt.

"My main goal is to just show the community what they have and nothing more," he said.

"We have to climb two giant trees then 'shoot' a horizontal line over the top of the forest from tree to tree. Then, from the horizontal line a system of pulleys is installed that allows our cameras to be lowered and raised through the forest. My cameras can then travel the entire height of the forest taking a set of photos every metre.

"This 'Tree Portrait' is made of 44 photos painstakingly blended by hand in Photoshop to reveal the truly impressive tree. Every time I make one of these photos I'm amazed at what is revealed. A tree that I know very well still reveals itself to be substantially bigger than what it looks like standing on the ground."

The aim of The Tree Projects, which Mr Pearce started with his wife Dr Jen Sanger, aims to educate the wider community on tree climbing, adventure and forest science.

 

Steve Pearce's unique method returns breathtaking results in this image of the 250-year-old blackbutt.
Steve Pearce's unique method returns breathtaking results in this image of the 250-year-old blackbutt. Steven Pearce


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