Avatar 'like' scene taking place in the Home Tree at Safari World Bangkok

Canon 5d Mark II, 16-35mm F2.8L  @F8  1/250th  35mm  ISO 100


Have you seen Avatar yet?  It's a movie that stays in your thoughts longer than most.  Forget all the political hype, Avatar will never be a legitimate political movie so why spoil the experience just because the director's obvious politics polluted the storyline?  Why not just sit back, accept it's only entertainment, and be entertained.. and I mean entertained like we haven't been in quite some time.  Avatar makes you think, it makes you feel, and especially in 3D it helps you experience.

I'll admit it, I very much would like a big red flying thing that's bonded only to me and would take me on wild rides through the sky swooping and diving and thrilling me every minute.  Any parrot owner will tell you those flying things closely mimic the body language of parrots in their initial interaction with the Na'vi before the bonding.  For over two hours I forgot about the world we live in, and experienced a world someone else imagined and in this world they flew on big flying creatures and I loved it!  Isn't that the ultimate test on if a movie is worth the ticket price or not?

Last Friday I was with a client in Safari World.  He'd read about the pleasure I derive from my morning visits to the park and I wanted him to experience it for himself.  We weren't even on the clock.  Just two guys with cameras taking in all this little oasis in the middle of Bangkok has to offer.

To me, having been there many times before, I commented there weren't that many birds in the wetlands area.  You see, these aren't caged birds, this is a manmade wetlands and the birds come and go as they migrate.  But to my client he thought there were many birds.  Our frames of reference were a bit different.  Anyway, we're sitting there in the wetlands area and I ask him "do you notice all the birds in the trees?"  Most don't notice, the birds are in the trees in the tens of thousands but they mostly blend in and go unnoticed.  He said he'd noticed and I nodded in approval, perhaps we have a budding wildlife photographer in the making.

I'd noticed for years, yet this day I was really drawn to the trees as I looked through my long telephoto using it as a sort of powerful telescope to spy on the community of birds in the trees.  As I watched the different species interact in this big tree my thoughts ran to the movie Avatar and the "Home Tree."  These birds had their own home tree and I was observing it in real life and as they flew and swooped and dived I was thrilled almost as much as if I had my own big red flying thing parked in the garage.

This image is significant because I wanted to show you a small slice of the community in the 'Home Tree' that I was experiencing, and I think this is a good representation.  Actually it's a small crop of the entire frame, perhaps less than 5% of the entire image.  I carefully went over many frames looking for the perfect scene and was happy when I found this one.  Birds, mostly in pairs, living in their Home Tree and interacting with each other in their community.  I processed the image a bit to enhance the edges of the birds to help them stand out from the tree.


Another ecosystem at Safari World captured during a workshop

Canon 5d Mark II, 16-35mm F2.8L  @F8  1/250th  35mm  ISO 100


This is the type of scene I was looking at and drew the crop from.  Beautiful in its own right, it still doesn't allow the viewer to notice the tens of thousands of large bird species hidden among the branches of this scene.  I individually enhanced a good 100 of these birds so you'd get a feeling for their placement, but only by making this print a good 30x40 inches could you start to pick out all of them.

How many trees to we drive by every day that are 'Home Trees' of entire communities?  How many have we cut down and destroyed?  I'm a firm believer in doing what benefits our species the most, but are we always benefitting our species or are we sometimes acting without full consideration of what we're losing.. just to gain the space the tree occupied, or the lumber it provides.  Full consideration.  It's something to think about.