The Sticks

The battle against the elements, both from nature and mankind is a balance, and only the strongest survive.

I was on the Frew River track (the back way into the Davenport Range National Park) when I passed this stand of gums. I could not help but mark it on my GPS in order to come back later in the week, as the skies were dark and overcast, not conducive to an image that portrayed what I felt when I saw the rocky slopes of that particular hillside.

The skies did clear and it was a few days later I drove back to the scene. It looked so different bathed under brilliant clean light and blue skies and the reason to why it caught my eye was clear.

I stood before the stand of trees and asked the unanswerable - Why was every tree the same height and size and in such close proximity? What had happened a number years ago to provide such massive growth? It was clear fire was the answer but there was basically only one generation of trees. Had a fire so hot been through that all previous generations been destroyed or was this a new stand struggling against the elements.

Fire had been through again and left nothing but sticks. Imagine if this little area could be looked after against fire -maybe a forest in the semi arid ecosystem sense. The trees had a start and grown to a reasonable height and there was plenty of them. They were relatively protected by the barren rocky slopes surrounding the stand and had a chance.

A new forest of trees was a dream but again it raised that question what would the Territory look like if we did not burn everything.

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Paul's Landscape Photography Tip

Paying attention to what is around you and imagining what it would like under different conditions is a big part of photography. In the case of this image, it was found on a cloudy overcast day without much life or 'get up and go' as I call it. I felt the regeneration of the trees was a time for celebration and therefore the shot needed blue skies and great light in order that the right story be told. I bided my time and went back when the conditions where right.