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Posts Tagged ‘Environment’

Into The Wild Wood

Words & Images by Duncan George

(Duncan George Photography)

If you close your eyes and imagine a wood in a dark fairy tale, what do you see, smell and hear?

wistmans-wood-1(Image credit: Duncan George)

In your minds eye do twisted and sinister trees thick with moss and lichens form anthropomorphic shapes in billowing fog? Underfoot do you struggle for grip on treacherous granite boulders? Perhaps a far off stream provides an aural accompaniment with the the odd and inexplicable crack of a twig sounding ominously close. Does a dank earthy smell pervade the air?

wistmans-wood-2(Image credit: Duncan George)

Just to bring you back to reality, such woods do actually exist and not (just) in Transylvania or some far flung part of Asia but in the UK. On Dartmoor there are three remote high moorland copses of stunted oaks. I think there may be more in Cumbria. The one I have visited on Dartmoor many times is the best known, Wistman’s Wood. The name Wistman’s is thought to derive from wisht-man meaning haunted or pixie-led. The site is believed to have a human involvement dating back to Druid times. When seen in thick fog, in the half light of dawn or dusk it’s easy to see why much folklore and tales of the supernatural surrounds the place.

wistmans-wood-3(Image credit: Duncan George)

It is a fantastic location for art and photography. One of the aspects I like about it is, off-season when I tend to visit, it feels so remote. All the shots in this blog post were taken on Friday morning last week (Nov 2012) and the only other person I saw there (which is unusual in itself, normally I don’t see anyone) was an artist taking photographs to act as as a sketchbook.

wistmans-wood-5(Image credit: Duncan George)

Although Wistman’s isn’t hard to get to in the way that remote Scottish mountains are for example it’s still a challenging drive and hike on Dartmoor in thick fog. Twice out on the moor with visibility down to 2 metres or so I’ve lost my bearings completely and had to use a compass to reorient myself (not something I ever had to do in my previous career in media!). Normally one could rely on the sound of the West Dart River as a guide but fog deadens sound. It’s easy to understand how people can get into trouble in an environment which can quickly switch from benign to malevolent.

wistmans-wood-4(Image credit: Duncan George)

What draws me to the wood is the magical feel of the place. The trees whilst quite small in comparison to normal oaks are fantastically contorted with a myriad of branches, each one being completely unique. Of course every tree is unique but here whilst they share the same genealogy each looks as though penned by a different artist . Furthermore they don’t resemble those in ‘normal’ and more uniform woods and forests.  Wistman’s is located on a hillside strewn with boulders and both trees and granite are coated in a carpet of moss. Some of the trees are draped in lichens as though dressed for Christmas. I’ve never seen lichens so resplendent in any other location. It used to be said that it was alive with adders although thankfully I haven’t seen any. It would be unfortunate to say the least if I set my camera down on a nest.

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All text and photos copyright Duncan George.

To see more of this gentleman’s amazing photography, I urge you to go check out his website. You will not be disappointed!

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Life finds a way.

life-finds-a-way(Image: Posted in melbourneer.com)

Nature finds a way.

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Light Pillars!

When it get really cold up here in The Great White North…

Amazing things happen!

light-pillars(Image Credit: Jay Callaghan)

Light pillars captured in Peterborough, Ont., on Feb. 24, 2014!

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light pillar is a visual phenomenon created by the reflection of light from ice crystals with near horizontal parallel planar surfaces. The light can come from the Sun (usually at or low to the horizon) in which case the phenomenon is called a sun pillar or solar pillar. It can also come from the Moon or from terrestrial sources such as streetlights (Wikipedia)

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What if the polar ice caps melted. What would the world look like?

polar-icecap-melt

This National Geographic maps gives some indication as to how our world would change.

(Spoiler Alert: Goodbye Netherlands, Florida, the entire U.S. Eastern Seaboard and Bangladesh!)

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The coldest place on earth.

Antarctica. August 10, 2o1o and July 31, 2o13.

coldestplace

-135.8F (-93.2C)!

Mighty brisk, I can tell you that right now.

Puts things in perspective.

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It’s not only the old fir trees that make this photo so awe-inspiring. It’s the clouds across the Dolomite mountains in the background. But most importantly, it is the fact that the image is reflected in waters of Lake Carezza (lit. ‘caress’) with circular ripples moving outwards.

carezza-lake-reflection(Photograph by Antonio Chiumenti)

“Lake Carezza is a pearl of the Dolomites. Nestled between an ancient forest of grand firs and Latemar mountain, it’s a place of legends and beauty—a nymph lives under its emerald waters. I threw a little stone in the water to add a little mystery to the scene.” (Antonio Chiumenti)

(This photo and caption were submitted to the 2013 National Geographic Photo Contest.)

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One of my favourite places in the world is Vermont. Especially the area around Stowe, VT.

Smugglers’ Notch, Vermont

This tree tunnel is simply astonishing! The picture was taken on the way up to Smuggler’s Notch, a Vermont state park.

Trees-SmugglersNotch-VT(Image: Via amazingworldstuffs.com)

The eye-catching foliage starts changing its color in the northern region, in response to many environmental factors, and spreads south as the fall season advances.

waterfall-in-smugglers-notch-john-burk(Image Credit: John Burk)

The actual ‘Notch’ part of Smugglers’ Notch is a tight winding road that snakes its way through one of the prettiest forests in the northeast United States.

I’m a relatively short drive away from Vermont. I must go back and enjoy its splendour once again.

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