2022 / Nature / Trees (Non-Pro)

Recovery After Fire

  • Photographer
    Keith Horton
  • Agency / Studio
    Keith Horton Photography

The tree pictured here is known as a ‘Scribbly-gum’ tree (Eucalyptus haemastoma). It is recovering from fire by putting out epicormic shoots which grow from buds underneath the bark. This tree had lost nearly all its leaves in a fire, but the epicormic shoots will help it to survive. The 'scribbles' on the bark of this tree are made by the larvae of tiny moths, which burrow under the bark to eat the cambium. Like many Eucalypts, Scribbly-gum trees lose their old bark each year, and when they do so the trails of the larvae can be seen as ‘scribbles’.

I am a recently retired Australian Philosophy Lecturer, now transitioning to working (less formally) as a nature photographer. I take photos mostly of nature in my area, the Illawarra, south of Sydney in Australia. There's an incredible variety of ecosystems in this area – from subtropical rainforests to heaths, for example, from coastal zones to upland swamps – so there is always lots to photograph. Many of these ecosystems are under threat, though, so I hope that my photographs can play a role in their preservation.