Pretty amazed! The Guardian has published an excerpt from author Harley Rustad's book Big Lonely Doug as well as some of my photographs 🌲 BLD has become a symbol for both the grandeur and destruction of BC's old-growth forests. His message is reaching audiences around the world but as old-growth trees once again roll past him on the backs of logging trucks, will the BC NDP actually listen and finally protect these endangered ancient forests? See the article here: www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/mar/05/the-last-great-tree-a-majestic-relic-of-canadas-vanishing-boreal-forest
In September of 2018, I spent 3 weeks in the Great Bear Rainforest working as a photographer & naturalist aboard a ship called the Maple Leaf. The Great Bear stretches along BC’s central and north coast and is part of the largest temperate rainforest in the world - 85% of which is now off limits to logging. From whales to wolves, bears to eagles, to waterfalls and tall granite walls, the region is breathtaking. Needless to say I took a few photos and trying to pick my favourites out of a folder of over 3000 has been a bit of a challenge but here are some of the highlights from my first 8 day trip. A shout out to the amazing crew of the Maple Leaf and all the great people we met along the way! Trip 2 coming soon..
Gear: Canon 5D MKIV, 15mm f2.8, 16-35mm f4 IS, 35mm 1.4 II, 24-70mm f4 IS, 100-400 IS L II.
2018 shaped up to be yet another busy and exciting year with lots of adventures into new and unique areas. It also saw the release of an award-winning documentary film titled Anthropocene: The Human Epoch that I assisted on, a museum exhibit by Ed Burtynsky and book by Harley Rustad featuring Big Lonely Doug, and media coverage on the old-growth issue across the country and around the world. The highlight experience of my year though would have to have been the three weeks that I spent working as a naturalist and photographer aboard the Maple Leaf in the Great Bear Rainforest. The Great Bear stretches along BC’s central and north coast and is part of the largest temperate rainforest in the world. From whales to wolves, bears to eagles, and waterfalls to tall granite walls, the region is beautiful beyond words. The trip also underscored to me though just how special Vancouver Island and BC’s south coast truly are. Due to the better weather and prime growing conditions, it’s right here, in our own backyard, that one can still find some of the most magnificent ancient forests harbouring some of the world’s largest trees. But unlike the Great Bear, where 85% of the old-growth forests are now off limits to logging thanks to decades of conservation efforts, the ancient forests of the south coast are now highly endangered and still being cut at an alarming rate. So throughout 2018 we again clocked thousands of kilometers on logging roads and hiked through magnificent forests and horrific clearcuts in an effort to expose both the beauty and the destruction taking place. Clearly there is still much work to be done in the coming years to ensure that these incredible ecosystems remain standing for generations to come. For now though, please enjoy what are some of my favourite photos from this past year. If you have a favourite, let me know in the comments below! For the wild, TJ.
Fine art prints of these images and more can be ordered online at: tjwatt.com/prints
Be sure to grab copy of Big Lonely Doug. Yes, that's right, BLD has his very own book now! Author Harley Rustad tells the tale of one of the country's largest and most iconic trees, the human stories around him, and much, much more. It also features one of my photos on the cover! You can find it at Munro's, Indigo, or online🌲 https://www.harleyrustad.com/book-big-lonely-doug/
New logging has commenced on Edinburgh Mountain, an exceptional old-growth forest “hotspot” near Port Renfrew on Vancouver Island and the location of Big Lonely Doug (Canada’s second largest Douglas-fir tree) and the spectacular Eden Grove. AFA campaigners visited the cutblock December 15th and were dismayed to find scores of giant trees cut down, including two-meter-wide cedars and an extremely rare, two-meter-wide, old-growth Douglas-fir. Over 15 hectares is being logged by Teal Jones, which adds to the over 75 ha of old-growth forest the company has logged on the mountain since 2016.
Just 50 meters away from the active cutblock stands a Douglas-fir tree that is the 6th widest Douglas-fir tree on record, according to the BC Big Tree Registry, and the 7th widest when including the Alberni Giant in the Nahmint Valley. While the near record-sized tree is located within a Wildlife Habitat Area, it remains vulnerable to future logging. Old-growth hotspots of high conservation and recreational value, like Edinburgh Mountain, are disappearing before our eyes and will be reduced to tattered fragments if action isn’t taken soon. The BC government must enact an immediate halt to logging in hotspots to ensure the largest and best stands of remaining ancient forests are kept intact and develop a science-based plan to protect endangered old-growth forests across BC! Send them an instant message at: www.ancientforestalliance.org/send-a-message
Stoked to see my image (bottom left) on display as part of the augmented reality installation of Big Lonely Doug from Anthropocene at the Art Gallery of Ontario! The exhibit runs until Jan 6th, 2019. Photo: Dean Tomlinson ©Art Gallery of Ontario.