Picture of the Day: The Ancient Banyan Tree
THE ANCIENT BANYAN TREE
Taken on Hawaii’s Big Island, this beautiful photograph of an ancient Banyan tree was sent to the Sifter by professional photographer James Brandon, who recalls:
“This massive banyan tree is located at Rainbow Falls on the Big Island of Hawaii. I stood in front of it for quite some time trying to wrap my head around how to best capture it. It was unbelievably huge. The tree is somewhere in the ballpark of 500-600 years old and is actually not even considered a tree anymore. The tree was overrun by the figs which attach themselves and send their vines down to the ground. Eventually the tree gets completely covered up. You can actually walk inside of the trunk and disappear! And what’s even cooler is that some of the vines shoot out to other trees and attach to them.
While I was setting up my tripod getting ready to take a few shots a group of four people walked right into my frame and started taking pictures of each other in front of the tree. This would normally be kind of annoying but as soon as I saw them through my viewfinder I knew they would help tell this tree’s story. Including the people in the frame gave scale to just how enormous this banyan tree truly was. Sometimes it’s really hard to convey to the viewer how large or small a subject really was so I was happy to capture it in this image.”
A banyan is a fig that starts its life as an epiphyte (a plant growing on another plant) when its seeds germinate in the cracks and crevices on a host tree (or on structures like buildings and bridges). Like other fig species, banyans have unique fruit structures and are dependent on fig wasps for reproduction. Older banyan trees are characterized by their aerial prop roots that grow into thick woody trunks which, with age, can become indistinguishable from the main trunk. The original support tree can sometimes die, so that the banyan becomes a “columnar tree” with a hollow central core. Old trees can spread out laterally using these prop roots to cover a wide area. [Source]
You can see more of James’ fantastic photography on his website, Twitter and Google+. James has also recently published an eBook for photographers entitled, Tack Sharp. It provides techniques and tricks to help you get consistently sharp images.
If you use the discount code SIFTER you will get a $2 discount and Tack Sharp can be yours for $7.97