The Tree Projects visits Kalang forest

This Eucalyptus pilularis in Kalang is about 55m tall

This Eucalyptus pilularis in Kalang is about 55m tall

Renowned Tasmanian photographer Steve Pearce, whose speciality is impossible images, has created one of his distinctive tree portraits after visiting the lush mountain forest between the Bellinger and Kalang valleys.

Steve’s unique photography showcases the entire tree – a view that many people will never see in their lifetime.

"The method I use to create a ‘Tree Portrait’ is a combination of ridiculous rigging and crazy camerawork,” Steve 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.”

While in the Kalang forest, Steve chose to photograph a large Eucalyptus pilularis, commonly known as Blackbutt. 

The entire process took a couple of days to rig his unique camera system, all the while waiting for perfect conditions to start shooting.

"My main goal is to just show the community what they have,” Steve said. 

It's unfortunate that so much devastation is allowed to happen on public land only because the wider community isn't familiar with what they possess

Steve Pearce

Steve began The Tree Projects with his wife, Dr Jen Sanger, whose PhD involved studying orchids and ferns that live exclusively in the canopy of rainforest trees.

Since then they have turned it into a platform for educating the wider community about tree climbing, adventure and forest science.

His desire to photograph the Kalang forest began when a local member of the Bellingen Environment Center posted photos on Facebook.

The area around Boot Hill on the Horseshoe Road sparked his interest, because its lush mountain rainforest and beautiful old growth make it a a perfect environment for a tree portrait.

Bellingen Environment Centre committee member and Kalang local Jonas Bellchambers took Steve out to Boot Hill to show him around.

“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,” Jonas said.

“Locals and members of The Bellingen Environment Centre have been spending more time out there exploring ever since Forestry Corporation NSW 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.” 

Steve said the diversity of the forest in the area in which they were working was remarkable.

“Each morning the dawn chorus of birds greeted us and throughout the day we spent most of our time in the canopy.

“There's not much to compare between Tasmania's forests and what you have here. Sure we might have bigger trees in Tasmania but here there is a vast diversity of plants and very active animals that we just don't have in the forests of Tasmania.”

Follow this link to see a 360 degree video where you can zoom in and scroll around the full sized gigapixel image of the tree and see more of Steve’s work at www.thetreeprojects.com and on Facebook @thetreeprojects