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Swift Run Tree Roots

551 megapixel VAST photo
Swift Run, Standardsville, Shenandoah, Virginia

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551 megapixels! A very high resolution, large-format VAST photo print of a tree trunk along the banks of a stream; nature photograph created by Tim Lo Monaco in Swift Run, Standardsville, Shenandoah, Virginia

Swift Run Tree Roots

551 MEGAPIXEL VAST PHOTO
Swift Run, Standardsville, Shenandoah, Virginia

The Appalachian Mountains are the oldest mountain range in North America. Once as tall as the Alps, millions of years of ice and water wore down these mountains into the beautiful rolling hills and broad valleys that we see today. In Virginia, the Appalachians are commonly known as the Blue Ridge Mountains. Along that range is the 311 square mile Shenandoah National Park extending into southwest Virginia. It’s heavily forested and home to much wildlife including many species of birds, black bear, deer, and many many squirrels. There are wetlands, myriad creeks, streams and waterfalls.

This photo was taken along one of those streams called Swift Run right outside of Shenandoah National Park. Even though it was a family trip, knowing how beautiful the area is, I brought along my camera gear in case I found an inspiring scene. My wife found a cabin to rent in Stanardsville, Virginia, adjacent to Swift Run. We spent a few days in the late summer relaxing and exploring our immediate surroundings. Not bothered by the icy temperature of the water, my kids spent many hours playing in and catching little fish in the stream, next to the tree here.

I am fascinated with trees: their form, strength and resilience, but I find it hard to do them justice in a photograph. The best advice I ever received for composing a shot was simply: “Think about what it is about the scene that made you want to take a picture in the first place. Try to capture that.” I loved the forest setting here: gnarly exposed roots, covered in moss, grasping onto earth after years of erosion washing away the stable base, and the surrounding deciduous forest.

After a series of still images, I wanted to capture the essence of the forest with a hyper realistic photo only possible with an ultra high resolution panoramic stitch. Fortunately, my telephoto lens is also a macro lens and can focus at very close distances or this wouldn’t have worked. For the next 1.5 hours I went through the sequence multiple times. The images from the first half hour were ultimately discarded as there was too much variance in the changing light. When the sun dipped below the mountain behind me, I started all over again with a more even light. This VAST photo was made from 220 photos: 3 rows of 8 input images, with between 6 to 20 focus-stacked frames depending on the input image. This was a satisfying photo to finish because of the challenging scene and precision needed in capturing and post-processing the sequence.

While I could see the hundreds of little snails, it wasn’t until I processed the image that I saw so much other life in the forest here. The little mushrooms hidden in the roots, the millipede, spider, and arthropods that all call this tree “home”. Nature never ceases to inspire us and it’s fascinating to see these micro ecosystems working in harmony.

Date & TimeAugust 29, 2020:  5:06pm - 5:57pm
LocationSwift Run, Standardsville, Shenandoah, Virginia
Coordinates38.317148, -78.517098
Focal Length200mm
Aperturef/13
Shutter Speed0.5 sec - 1.3 sec
ISO50
Number of Exposures220

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Acrylic glass display

Our acrylic glass displays are ready-to-hang works of art that contain one of our photographic prints sealed between flame-polished acrylic glass and an aluminum backing. A hidden mounting brace on the rear causes the display to gracefully "float" off the wall for a sleek, modern frameless look that complements nearly any decor style. Click on the icons below to learn more or click here to explore further.

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Purchase a rights-managed license to use this photo file. A license provides you with the full resolution digital image file and a permit to use it for a specific project. Use the form below to begin the licensing process or click here to learn more.

Total Pixels550,646,607
Horizontal Pixels31,253
Vertical Pixels17,619
Aspect Ratio1.77 : 1
File Size3,147 MB
Width @ 300ppi (perfect)8.68 feet
Height @ 300ppi4.89 feet
Width @ 150ppi (near-perfect)17.36 feet
Height @ 150ppi9.79 feet

Date & TimeAugust 29, 2020:  5:06pm - 5:57pm
LocationSwift Run, Standardsville, Shenandoah, Virginia
Coordinates38.317148, -78.517098
Focal Length200mm
Aperturef/13
Shutter Speed0.5 sec - 1.3 sec
ISO50
Number of Exposures220

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Photo id: 10757