TWISTED BEAUTY

Snow Gums, Kosciuszko National Park, New South Wales, Australia

I photographed these snow gums during a four day hike in Kosciuszko National Park while visiting some of Australia's highest peaks with my wife. On this fourth morning, from the time we woke in our tent we were greeted with persistent rain which continued all morning long as we walked to our next destination. Along the way, I couldn't escape the history and beauty of these trees, with their natural colours highlighted by the wet bark.

Snow gums (Eucalyptus pauciflora) are the quintessential alpine tree of the mountains of the southeastern Australian mainland, dominating subalpine woodlands at the altitudinal limit to tree growth. Forests and woodlands of Snow Gums can look quite uniform from a distance, but up close they have such character. These examples in the Kosciuszko National Park epitomise the twisted beauty in many of the older snow gums that have survived bushfires devastating large swathes of snow gum habitat in recent years.

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