9 February, 2017
Photographing one of the world's tallest trees in Tasmania's Styx Valley
It took 67 days, 12,000 images and a climb to stomach-churning heights, but photographer Steven Pearce finally got the image he was after of the world's tallest flowering plant, Tasmania's eucalyptus regnans.
The Styx Valley, past the township of Maydena, about 100 kilometres north-west from Hobart, is often damp, cold and foggy.
It is also home to the world's tallest flowering plant and one of the world's tallest trees - the eucalyptus regnans, often called mountain ash or swamp gum.
These towering gums are thought to grow to 100 metres or more, with the tallest living tree on record being Centurion in Tasmania at a confirmed 99.6 metres.
Potential to be a 'world leader'
Photographing these trees to show their entire length is extremely difficult, but this was what Pearce was determined to do.
"It's a very arduous process involving a lot of tree climbing, getting right up to the crown of these trees," he told Louise Saunders on ABC Radio Hobart.
Pearce and a team were hired by Australian Geographic to get a full-length shot of one of these giants as part of The Tree Projects, which aims to showcase some of the world's biggest, tallest and unusual trees.
Pearce said he saw taking part in the project as a way to refocus the conversation around the trees in the Styx Valley.
"I want to start a new chapter for Tasmanian tall trees," he said. "Tall trees in Tasmania for too long have been divided between greenies and the loggers and the politics.
"Each one of these eucalyptus regrens has the potential to grow into a world leader.
"The other tallest tree in the world, the California redwood, takes thousands of years to grow this high whereas our eucalypts can grow that high in 300."
To get the full-length photo, Pearce and the team suspended between two trees a camera rig which could travel up and down to photograph the entire tree.
It took a lot of patience to get the photos needed and the team spent 67 days in the valley.
"Half an hour of weather in the Styx Valley - well, nothing really stays the same for very long out there," Pearce said. "We had all up 12,000 photos from over 12 mornings and there were only four days which are represented in the final photograph.
"It was worth it just to be out in the Styx Valley for that long, for me."
The final photograph is a composite of 87 images and is on display at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery until March 19.