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Panoramic photo by Richard Chesher PRO EXPERT MAESTRO Taken 01:51, 16/01/2013 - Views loading...

Kaori River Tree

The World > Pacific Ocean Islands > Melanesia > New Caledonia

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Freddy says, "Take a photo of that tiny tree" as I contemplate the best place to do a sphere image of one of our favourite swimming holes on the Rivere des Kaoris.

The tiny tree is growing right out of a big rock between two cascades. It looks like it would vanish after the next heavy rain but looks are, in this case, deceiving. This species is totally amazing. It grows so slowly that some of the trees I photographed 25 years ago look exactly the same today - and they survived massive powerful floods each time a cyclone came swirling by. I see a strand of grass is already caught on the little tree from the flood last week when a cyclone came thundering by. So this tenacious little guy has already been baptized. There is another tree of the same species growing out of the rock on the opposite pole of the sphere image and I'll bet it is over 30 years old. 

Normally it would be very difficult to get a sphere image of the little tree - there is no way I could set up a tripod in the rapids and no way I would want to risk most cameras close enough to the little tree what with the constant splashes from the two waterfalls and the need to swim across the pool to get to the rapids.

But the little waterproof GoPro Hero3 on the handle of my walking stick makes the job easy. I side-stroke across the pool, clamber up the slippery rocks using my walking stick to steady things, stand a couple of meters to one side of the rapids, extend the stick, rotate it and bag the image. Easy and quick with great results.

I like waterfall and stream images done at slow shutter speeds so the water looks dreamy smooth, but the GoPro turns the cascade into an ice-sculpture which has some amazing formations. So it has a different kind of dream quality that is equally fascinating.

Good luck to the little tree, may it thrive in this hazardous position for a long long time. 

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Nearby images in New Caledonia

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This panorama was taken in New Caledonia

This is an overview of New Caledonia

New Caledonia is the closest South Pacific Island to Australia and New Zealand. It is a French Territory and although the official language is French the culture is a blend of Melanesian, European, Polynesian, Vietnamese, Chinese, Indonesian, and more. There is one large mountainous island called Grande Terre and 6 smaller islands - the three Loyalty Islands, Belep and the Isle of Pines.

The islands are remarkably unpopulated and there are vast areas of wilderness. There are hundreds of kilometers of walking treks, camp grounds, more than 42 parks and reserves, and crystal clear rivers with sparkling waterfalls. Almost one third of the population is located in the capital city of Noumea. Nickel mining is the primary industry and is the major contributor to the high standard of living in the country. Grande Terre is surrounded by the second largest barrier reef in the world and the protected lagoon created by this barrier reef is the largest in the world. Listed as a World Heritage Site in 2008, the lagoon is 24,000 square kilometers and supports a diverse and luxuriant fauna of fish and invertebrates.

The vibrant, clear and rich colors are one of the first things that visitors notice when they arrive. Noumea has a complete range of hotels, resorts, restaurants, and activities to welcome visitors.

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