September 11, 2006

R_ in a Burned Forest

The shortest session of R_'s visit was on this morning; we had the full day to work together and thought it would be best spent working between two locations. For the morning, I decided to try working in a burned out section of forest near where I live - it caught fire almost three years earlier, and I'd hoped that by now the burnt trees would have started to flake their bark, and turn silver white.
Digital infrared original
My expectations were dashed when I arrived to find the burn site a mess of blackened trunks and new underbrush...and some wonderfully striking looking uprooted trees.

With the forest fire site so close to the road, R_ and I had to move into the site some distance before we could even begin working. It was here that we found a large tree (large for Nova Scotia) which had toppled since the fire and was lying with its base and roots flung towards the sky.
Digital infrared original
Immediately R_ began exploring the fallen tree (after I carefully helped her up on to the roots and took her shoes). There were plenty of handholds and places to stand but the September sunlight was direct and harsh, which made photographing through the roots difficult. It was only when R_ rotated,  facing out from the roots, that the images really started working - the dark mess of chaotic roots upturned behind her were the perfect contrast to her pale, sunlit figure arched longingly towards the dark, dramatic sky.
Digital infrared original, 33 frame stitch
After we made a whole series of images on that tree, we spent perhaps half an hour looking for other spaces, but the resonance of that single post, with R_ arched against the sky, filled my mind's eye and I very quickly suggested we simply pack up and leave for somewhere else, as I already knew we'd made the best images we could in the space.

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