There is a narrow window of time every year when nature provides a spinning color pallet. I began experimenting with this technique back in the days of film 20+ years ago. I’ve been pursuing it ever since. Some years the window is short. This is a capture from last week. Water levels have been really low this year but after the recent rain and wind I’m sure there are plenty of swirling colors.
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Socotra’s 34-million-year separation from mainland Arabia has given rise to a unique flora – 37% of its plant species are found nowhere else.
The dragon blood tree (Dracaena cinnabari) is named after its crimson red resin. Its unusual shape is an adaptation for survival in arid conditions with low amounts of soil, such as in mountaintops. The large, packed crown provides shade and reduces evaporation. This shade also aids in the survival of seedlings growing beneath the adult tree, explaining why the trees tend to grow closer together like in this image.
The future of this species is uncertain, which is why it is classified as Threatened by the IUCN. The most significant problem is climate change: Socotra is drying out, with once-reliable monsoon weather becoming patchy and irregular. But as always, people are mostly to blame. Locals drill holes in the trees to extract the resin, which they use for medicine, makeup, paint, etc. The holes then allow insects to penetrate the trunk and further weaken the tree from inside. Socotra has violent storms, and these damaged trees get blown over.
Another threat is livestock. Most locals have goats. The goats love the young dragon blood seedlings. With more and more goats on the island, most of the dragon blood seedlings get eaten - there are no new generations of dragon blood trees as a result. This means that if the goat problem is not dealt with, the current trees will eventually all die of old age and there will be no young trees. Already, their age structure generally indicates over-maturity and predictions are that many areas with dragon blood trees will reach the stage of intensive disintegration within 30–77 years with 95% probability. The maximum age of a dragon blood tree is around 700 years, and many of the larger trees have already reached that age.
I shot this image on an early morning hike in the mountains, just before sunrise. That ball of light is the moon, which explains the faint stars.
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[Nikon D850, AF-S 14-24/2.8, 2 sec @ f/5.6, ISO 800]
Marsel | squiver.com