Trees are the longest living entities on our planet and some of them grow to a size that defies all superlatives. The President is one of them. This giant Sequoia, named after president Warren G. Harding, is the 2nd largest tree in the world, is 247 feet high, measures a 27 feet diameter at the base, holds 2 billion needles (I wonder who counted them…), is about 3200 years old and still adds 1 cubic meter of wood every year which makes The President also one of the fastest growing trees on Earth. It’s not surprising it has never been photographed in its entirety… so far.
In mid February 2013, National Geographic photographer Michael “Nick” Nichols and a team of scientists took on the challenge to measure and photograph this giant beauty. It took a intricate network of pulleys, levers and ropes, more than 2 weeks and 126 individual frames to complete what is, in my humble opinion, one of the most impressive tree images ever made. I recently spent 2 years photographing trees in Ireland for the Tree Council of Ireland. So, I know a bit about photographing trees. However, what I did doesn’t compare to this undertaking in the slightest. The photographer’s job on this occasion was to command the operation from the ground, steering cameras and composing the image without a viewfinder in sight. Only on the last day, Michael Nichols climbed The President to say goodbye.
You can watch the video here:
You can view the final image HERE.