Photoessay: Forest in the city

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Recently reopened, Taman Tugu is a surprisingly large park in the centre of Kuala Lumpur. It’s unique for being a rehabilitated secondary rainforest: for decades it had been used as a fly tipping site; literally hundreds of tons of rubbish and debris were removed from the hilly area by hand, and native species brought in to accelerate the repopulation of the forest and close up the canopy. Despite being effectively a manmade park, it has the feel of being completely natural other than a couple of prepared trails and benches; this is completely different from any of the other parks or reserves in Kuala Lumpur, and made to feel even more surreal due to the location – you’re barely two or three kilometres from the city centre, but once inside the park you hear nothing but birds and insects. It’s an amazingly tranquil feeling and I think something quite unusual for an urban area. The only other analog ambience-wise that comes to mind is the Nezumuseum garden in Tokyo; but that’s obviously a completely manmade garden, though the style is less formal than your traditional Japanese construction. Both however have the same sort of underlying feeling of structured chaos – an organic natural-ness overlaid on top of something more organised. To have something this close to home is very special indeed, and I highly recommend a visit if you’re in Kuala Lumpur (but bring mosquito repellent). In this series I’ve tried to capture vignettes of that feeling, though this turned out to be more difficult than imagined…

This set was shot with a Nikon Z7, 24-70 S and processed with Photoshop Workflow III and the Monochrome Masterclass.

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Photoessay: Forests of the Nilgiris

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Today’s post is a little sampling of the forests in the Nilgiri mountains in India – with quite a range of altitude, you get a wide range of flora from tropical to almost alpine and trees clinging to sides of steep escarpments, in places transitioning into tea plantations – complete with tigers, elephants and other wildlife to match (which also rendered large areas off limits – both for reasons of wildlife and human-life preservation). We didn’t encounter any of those, but we did spend quite a bit of time traveling through the predominantly montane forest. I of course also continued the Forest project of gigapixel-plus stitches, which I’ll probably never show digitally – the effect is completely lost. Nevertheless, I’ve always found forests to be very relaxing and tranquil places – and I hope the effect carries through on screen, even though digital media isn’t the best way of reproducing a fractal subject. What should of course carry through is the tonal palette – I’m pleased because this is about the closest I’ve gotten so far to almost full transparency, thanks to the CFV-50C. Enjoy! MT

This series was shot with a Hasselblad 501CM, CFV-50C digital back and a variety of lenses, and post processed with PS Workflow II.

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Photoessay: Details of a forest

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Explosion

Perhaps this set should have been called ‘seeing the wood for the trees’ – often in a situation where there is so much going on, it’s not easy to pick out and compose for individual details. There’s a sort of cognitive deception going on – there appears to be a lot of areas of interest, but in reality you’ve got to be very careful because it’s really the juxtaposition and perceived density that makes the scene interesting – without the context, you don’t know it’s one tree of many, or that the level of detail continues on to increasingly smaller scales, or that a particular rock formation is out of place. A good rule of thumb is that the detail of interest must be markedly different from the surrounding areas in order to stand out and hold audience attention. That of course means including the surrounding areas…

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Photoessay: In the redwood forest

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At the end of last year, I spent an enjoyable day with Lloyd Chambers in the Purisima Creek Redwood Park about two hours out of San Francisco; being from a much more tropical part of the world, it was my first experience photographing in this environment and this subject. I have to say the very pleasant company, comfortable temperature, lack of people and generally clear forest floor made for a very enjoyable afternoon – and more importantly, one that was conducive to making photographs.

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Photoessay: The magic forest

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Following on from yesterday’s article on travelling as a photographer – specifically the portion on serendipity – I thought it might be nice to show an example of that in today’s photoessay.

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