Saturday, July 7, 2012

The Kangaroo Tail and The Driptorch

The above photo is a composite of two photos I took this year in East Gippsland, within the vicinity of Bemm River, while working with the Department of Sustainability & Environment and the University of Sydney on a Australian Research Council project looking into the effect of prescribed burning on soil carbon in Victorian forests. This Xanthorrhoea grassland lay around 50m away from one of our forest sites (which were typically dominated by Eucalyptus muelleriana and Eucalyptus globoidea). 

The picture on the left was taken in January this year, as part of our pre-fire surveys; the one on the right taken in May, after the prescribed burn had taken place. 

Prescribed burning in Victoria is something of a controversial issue at times, and there has been much debate, opinion and research into it since the State Government committed to increasing the amount of the state treated with managed fire since the Black Saturday bushfires. 

I realise this image doesn't really contribute a constructive comment on the discussion. The fact is, photos such as these - as powerful as they are - tend to miss the third and vital component of the landscape, which is regeneration. It's lack of it, or it's abundance, it doesn't matter - but it is the conclusion to the narrative of the landscape that needs to be told.

Ideally I'll be able to return to this site perhaps one year down the track and turn this photo series into a triptych.

On a technical note - I managed to pull off both these photos using only what is available on a regular Apple iPhone. Not bad quality, I have to contend.

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