Road Tripping Through Ecosystems #4

Ficus Buttress - Hacienda Baru on the Pacific, Costa Rica
Canon 5D markII + Canon 15mm Fisheye
When we traveled to Costa Rica earlier in the year, we knew that this would be the first of three summer road trips. I've driven throughout the country in the past, and have reflected on the fun and challenge of tropical roads here. Confident from my prior excursion, I decided to rent an AWD vehicle and drive from coast to coast. Many of July's blogs (greetings, venomous tale, megalopygidae, one-eyed monkey, fifteen years later) showcase images from the Caribbean Slope near or at the Selva Verde Lodge. In contrast, today's post is of a Ficus sp. tree (fig) that we found along the Pacific Lowlands. I first photographed this tree in 2009, and planned my return visit before we left the country that year. This is a survivor. It is an ancient fig whose buttress peaks at nearly two meters. The giant with its web-like roots has survived to "see" logging and floods in what is now a secondary forest.

To produce this image, I bracketed my metered exposure by one-stop; taking a total of three pictures. With the Canon 5D markII and 15mm fisheye lens mounted to a Gitzo carbon-fiber tripod, I positioned the legs to shoot vertically at ground level. I worked slowly to frame the image to ensure that the tripod legs would not be visible. While this might sound obvious, it is no easy task when using a lens that has a 180 degree field of view. In post process, I exported the three files into Photomatix Pro to generate an HDR image. This software examines the three exposures and combines them to produce the widest dynamic range possible. The effect allows the picture to exhibit detail in both the highlights and shadows. Finally, I opened the HDR file in Apple's Aperture 3.x and converted the final image to black and white.  
©2000-2011 / Bruce & Tamy Leventhal. All rights reserved. No image on this site may be used without permission.