Falling Forest / 1989, 2009
While making a portrait exhibition of loggers in northern California for a museum show, I saw the felling of a tree in an entirely new way. I felt compelled to record all the opposing forces of energy at play in those few seconds.
At first the motion is slight and distinct. A vibration moves quickly up the tree, its top shakes and quivers until the moment gravity takes hold. There are ripping, creaking, and screeching sounds as the fibers tear apart, dividing the tree into stump and log.
As the falling tree gains momentum sound and motion blur together. The surrounding trees, still standing, sway back and forth. The veiled retorts of breaking limbs ricochet like gunshot or backfire.
When the tree hits the ground, the sound is indistinguishable from the sensation. It is deep and thunderous. It pounds your eardrums and sends a shock wave up your legs. You see, hear, and feel the moment simultaneously.
— David Paul Bayles
Orion Magazine 2010