Misool Rock Paintings 1

Misool Rock Paintings 1

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In my early years as a professional nature photographer, I became enamored with Native American rock-art sites in the Southwest. I studied the photographic work of the master landscape photographers and emulated their style, if not their outright images. Since, my initial forays into the Southwest, I have visited rock-art sites in Alaska, Hawaii, and the Pacific Northwest. The photographic skills that I learned served me well when I had the opportunity to visit several Papuan rock-art sites during my recent visit to the Misool Ecoresort in Raja Ampat, Indonesia. Unlike land based sites that can be hiked to, these panels overhung the water and required a boat to visit. They are located in Southeast Misool where mushroom-shaped islands jut out of the ocean and form a myriad of twisted passages and channels that any landscape photographer could devote months to exploring. Researchers have estimated that these pantings are in the neighborhood of 5000 years old. The red pigments are most likely iron-oxides which would have come from far away in central Papua. The main figures depict tuna, dolphins, and other unknown symbols. I was drawn to these paintings that included the limestone holes and erosion patterns. I created this image while precariously standing on the bow of the boat and hand-holding my Canon 5DmkII and Carl Zeiss 50mm f1.4 ZE lens. This image required minimal processing using Aperture 3 and Photoshop CS5.

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