Palm Pilgrimage

Licuala Palm (Licuala ramsayi) Australia

Many years ago, I saw a photograph of Australia's remarkable round-leaved Licuala Palm, which grows in a very restricted part of the Queensland rainforest.  I was so struck by their marvelous shape, and the stunning patterns of light and shadow they create, that I cut the picture out of a magazine and stuck it up on my wall - inspiration, of a sort.  That picture remained on the wall for a decade or more before I was able to to see those trees for myself.

On my recent trip to Australia, I found myself not far away from the Licuala forest, and so - finally - I had a chance to make my pilgrimage, and to wander through one of the loveliest forests I have ever seen. Walking wide-eyed with my camera and tripod, I had a chance to play with light and pattern and shadow, one of the things I love most about photography.

What the pictures don't tell you, however, is that this forest grows in a unspeakably hot, humid, and mosquito-ridden swamp.  Oh yeah, and there are leeches.  So as delighted as I was to see these trees after so long, I was just as happy to leave them behind...

Still, I'm glad I made the effort... And when the all the bites stop itching, I'll be even happier!

Nikon D3, 17-35mm lens

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