Burn Off

Fire, whilst extremely destructive can create some interesting scenes from the effect of smoke, the fire itself and the results left after the fire has passed. The best results are within a day or so after a fire has passed through and the ground is still fresh and sharp before the effects of the wind take place.

I was driving along the Carpentaria Highway in the Barkly Tablelands when I noticed this burnt area and decided to take a closer look at it because of it's freshness. I had to be careful not to leave foot prints in areas that might later become part of the shot, so had to tread carefully. Leaving the camera in the car I walked for an hour or so looking and learning and analysing the scene for what composition I wanted. Eventually I settled on the one you see here because I thought the story of the ash told the typical story of the destructive nature fire has on the Northern Territory's environment.

Following the ash lines all back to a centre point you can see the point of origin and the picture is completed. By this I mean a tree will grow and provide shelter for birds and animals and consume carbon dioxide and that we all understand. However a tree is just as important after it dies. It becomes a hollow trunk which houses reptiles and birds where they can be safe from predators. Eventually the tree will fall to the ground where it becomes to home ground insects and small reptiles. After a period of time it is fully returned to the ground but in the mean time younger trees have germinated and begun to grow and replace this tree.

Looking at the story here, the years have been dramatically reduced because the tree would have been standing and the fire has gone up the inside of the hollow possibly killing any inhabitants inside the trunk. The fire has finally weakened the tree and it has fallen to the ground and continued to burn until nothing but ash is left. The young trees are also burnt and because of the fire, will probably not survive. What should have taken years, was over in a matter of hours and a whole cycle of the ecosystem has been destroyed.

Yes fire is needed for rejuvenation, but the Northern Territory's wild lands are under threat because this sort of fire happens to nearly all parts of the Territory every year, especially in the top end, and it can not survive such an onslaught.

Fire and cane toads are causing more damage to the Northern Territory than is publicly realised.

This image was aimed at telling destructive story fire is having on the Top End of Australia.Gallery Images/Panos/106809.jpg

Paul's Landscape Photography Tip

Photographs tell a story, they can provide a message to the viewer. When composing an image remember what story you are trying to tell. An image that is just a 'click' is void of emotion and feeling. My images tell a story of the landscape and it is always with that in mind I compose my images, because without a story a photo is just a bunch of pixels turned into ink.