Sunday, November 9, 2008

November - Can't see the forest for the trees

Always watch where you are going. Otherwise, you may step on a piece of the Forest that was left out by mistake.” (Winnie the Pooh)

I have always found forests to be one of the most challenging subject for landscape photography. The more old, complex and beautiful the forest, the more the effort in framing a clean composition in the prevailing chaos and thus obtain effective images. This, together with the fact that I am 99% an open land type –a mountain, steppe, desert lover, doesn’t easily drag me into the woods with my camera. Still, it seems that this year fortunes of life are forcing me more and more to photograph under the tree canopy...

Earlier this year I was roaming free in the Tatra mountains of Slovakia for the multimedia conservation project „Tichà“ and I was first introduced to the most pristine forest in the area. An incredible anarchy of gigantic Arolla pines, Spruce and Rowan trees growing, dying and rotting in a perennial cycle. Bear tracks through the mosses covering all the forest floor. No sound nor sign of human activities. Not a single clan patch where to move freely nor an easy pattern to compose a picture. A moving wilderness dream and a true nightmare for a photographer. (A new gallery of my latest images from Slovakia has been recently uploaded on the project website:

Another forest, another country. The last weeks saw me now living and working full time in my new/old house in Abruzzo, mountainous region in Central Italy, dealing with renovation works while trying to catch up with old friends and the beloved wild places of my childhood. Doing research and scouting areas for new images, I was very excited to find out that some 50 km from my place, in almost unknown valley of a nearby National Park, scientists recently found what turned out to be the oldest beech forest of Europe. Protected by the surrounding mountains and the steep nature of the place, and due to a particular microclimate, some trees managed to grow here for more than 500 years! Besides the the wild and obvious appeal of the place, with trees literally covered by lichens and mosses and the feeling of being in a sacred place, I still have to get an image which could reflect the mood and essence of it. The picture(s) I have chosen for this month POTM represent two humble attempts to portray this incredible forest. More to come.

Another forest, another country, another continent. By the end of the month I will be „on assignment“ (first time!) in SW Ethiopia to photograph an highly endangered mountain rainforest ecosystem, where still grow wild specimens of Coffee, thrive monkeys and hunt leopards. I will be back home before Christmas and hopefully with many new images and stories to post.