Field of Science

Rainforest Field Trip - Canopy Trees & Digital Photography

Rain forest canopy trees have to be seen to be understood, and they have proven damned impossible to photograph using ordinary equipment speaking from considerable experience. Time was the Phactor was quite proficient in the dark room and while the digital revolution has rendered these skills quite irrelevant, the dark room and its chemicals are not something that stirs much nostaglia. One of the Phactor's problems with the digital revolution is not having the time or interest to completely explore what can be done with modern cameras and software. Having espied an interesting canopy tree, one where removal of herbaceous understory and a newly created forest edge helped expose the entire tree to view, old habits compelled the Phactor to take three carefully overlapped pictures for no particular reason at the time, but then when reviewing the days images on his trusty laptop, a new button was noticed: panorama. So after rotating all three tree pictures onto their side the program stitched them together to into a whole, and for a very first attempt this seems quite satisfactory. In the rain forest canopy trees are tall and slender often with light colored bark. When young they grow like aspiring to be telephone poles with the result that the crown branches far above ground. The base of the trunk becomes buttressed forming fins that stabilize the tree like rocket ships of the 1950s . A fair number of lianas (woody vines) hang down from the canopy.

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