No matter where you are in the Australia, Melaleuca's or paper barks are something you are likely to see. With over 200 species in the world, and Australia being the strong hold with over 170 species spread across the continent, it is not hard to realise why they seem to be everywhere. Living in the top end billabongs can be lined with them and thick dense paperbark swamps are the norm, but they are not always large powerful trees which have stood the test of time.
On a long trip through the Western Australian deserts I ended up near Newman in the Pilbara region. As I was heading further north to Tom Price I stopped in at Running Waters near Nullagine, because I had heard of large paperbark trees. The road started as a highway where the mines were running through, then it became a track, and the last 3 or 400 metres it's a slow, low gear four wheel drive track. Most people only stop for a visit and walk in, but I went all the way and had the luxury of camping by myself on the edge of a pristine clear water hole lined with paperbarks providing all day shade.
At one end of the water hole was a series of paperbarks like I had never see before. They were huge. It would take 3 to 4 people arms outstretched holding hands to get around the trunks. What intrigued me was the fascinating root system that just sprawled stabilising the banks and keeping the trees upright.
There was so much to take in, in such a small place. It took a bit of time to work out angles and distances and where a possible shot would be but eventually I settled on this close up of the roots because they where so unique. It was quite a challenge because the canopy stopped much of the light but it was not thick enough to stop the hot spots on trees where direct sun could still get to. Eventually I found a balance between good light for the capture without the highlights taking away from the scene.
Paul's Landscape Photography
One scene, one image. I challenge myself to summarise a location in one image. It is extremely hard, but I look at a scene and think what is the one single image that captures the emotion and feeling of the landscape and tells the story I want to tell. In this case it is a story of the power of nature through the size of the roots and the tree trunk, but also the story of time. For hundreds of years this melaleuca has stood in a timeless landscape. There was countless images in the area but this was the one for me.