Cathedral Grove, British Columbia, Canada by Martin Godwyn

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Picture Story

The old-growth rainforests of British Columbia have, sadly, now mostly been logged, but areas still exist where the majesty of these forest giants still stir the soul and give quiet testament of the centuries before the Europeans came to plunder. Perhaps few such places are as readily accessible as that of Cathedral Grove, bisected by the road connecting the city of Nanaimo and Port Alberni, on Vancouver Island’s east and west coasts respectively. Here Douglas Fir dominates, some as wide as nine metres and stretching over seventy metres into the sky. This area has been part of the traditional territory of the K’ómoks, Tseshaht and Te’mexw people, who have acted as stewards here for thousands of years.

Many photographers seek to tell the story of these forests through the tall and imposing grandeur of such giants, but the real story of this place lies, I think, in the earth, made rich from the millennia of trees that came before. The real story is one of change and regeneration, not stasis, however impressive and grand. It was that story that I sought to capture here, as the Autumn colours signalled the returning to the soil of what had in Spring been borrowed. The intersecting hulks of these fallen giants, some overlaying others, give tangible substance to the passing centuries and, with care and protection, will continue to do so for millennia to come.

The shot itself is a panorama composed of five vertical images, taken in evening light in late October.

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