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International Year of Forests

(January 1st, 2011 - December 31st, 2013)

Jean Berthélémé

Irishtown Nature Park/Parc Naturel d'Irishtown

Briar Bentley

Colonist's First Challenge

Hari Hari, South Island, New Zealand

December 10, 2011

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© 2012 Briar Bentley, Some Rights Reserved. Creative Commons License

In her film “The Piano”, Jane Campion portrays the life of an early colonial settler arriving on the west coast of New Zealand, her possessions dumped at the water’s edge with the prospect of a long and arduous journey through native forest. The picture is so compelling in its portrayal of life in that primitive environment that I wanted to capture a sense of what faced those intrepid travelers.

After a journey of months, their first sight of New Zealand would have been through pounding surf, across the top of seemingly endless forest, to a backdrop of snow-capped mountains. 150 years later much of the forest has given way to dairy pasture but you only have to go a few meters into what remains to appreciate some concept of the difficulties of communication. The main highway was the beach, never closed for repairs certainly but always a hazard for the unwary.

Thankfully much of Westland is now classified as World Heritage Status and no more logging takes place, it is an area of outstanding beauty and contrasts, with both sub-equatorial rainforest and glaciers!
Canon 5D plus Canon 15mm fisheye lens
Freehand capture using circular template carried in pack to give (reasonably) accurate 60-degree coverage.

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