Sunday, March 21, 2010

In A More Natural Light . . .

.
Going back to Reunion Island where we spent of couple of idyllic weeks in February, in the tropical heat, while winter was still waging its cold war in the north . . . what most amazed me about the island is the incredible relief of the terrain there. Of purely volcanic origin, la Réunion climbs out of the sea to over ten thousand feet at the top of the Piton des Neiges, the highest point. Hundreds of thousands of years of erosion and continuing volcanic activity have created a tortured landscape of ravines and cirques, where one often finds oneself looking up or down sheer cliffs hundreds of feet high. If you suffer from vertigo, you may want to pick another destination for you next trip, as the vertiginous heights there could bring on serious attacks of it. This first view gives a little idea. There is no road to the homes visible at the bottom right, people either hike the river valley to get there, or take a sort of cable lift down from where this photo was shot. You can just make out a large waterfall at the lower center . . .
.
.





































.
In fact there are numerous waterfalls all over the island, many of them quite spectacular, some that come to life after tropical rainstorms. We went to this next one the first afternoon we arrived on the island, above St. Denis, just beyond the village of Brulé . . .
.





































.
Vegetation runs rampant . . .
.






















.
.
.






















.
Tree ferns luxuriously green . . .
.





































.
Strange flowers abound, the likes of which I'd never seen before . . .
.





































.
.
.





































.
A marvellous road crosses a large stretch of central forest, which has become a National Park fairly recently, the rising ground to the left leads up toward the Piton des Neiges.
.






















.
The Piton des Neiges visible through the morning haze . . .
.





















.
And from another angle, the summit . . .
.
.






















.
.

39 comments:

Eleonora said...

Oh, Owen this is so special!

I'm about to go to sleep and I know where my dreams will be taking me tonight. A lush island... a waterfall... birdsong and soft, low clouds.

Thank you and thank you!
Eleonora

Stickup Artist said...

Wow oh Wow,

That first shot is just brilliant. I was wondering if those were little houses down there. And those flowers! Not to mention the waterfalls! What a luxurious paradise.

Did you notice that the second tree foto looked like a woman with one outstretched arm?

Nathalie said...

A great post Owen - I just love La Réunion.

And ahem... you have a good eye.
Yes Rue campane faces due south.
For the rest, well... :-)

Susan said...

You really are a great photographer! Beautiful. I feel like I went there.

James said...

What an amazing place. It really is beautiful. It was hard for me to grasp the vastness of the top photo until I saw the waterfall and houses way down there.

@eloh said...

Oh my GOD Owen... I couldn't even breathe. These are BEAUTIFUL... Oh my GOD...

I WANT THESE... big prints to FRAME!

Add it up now child... to include mailing...then tell me how you want the money...I will crawl across broken glass to get these!

Owen said...

Hi Eleonora, ah, perfect then, I wish you the sweetest of sweet dreams... with visions of tropical birds sweeping across those landscapes, and tables set with good food and wine of course !

=========

Hi Stickup, you are very observant indeed... it does look like a woman, but I'd almost say she has an owl's head ???

Owen said...

Hi Nathalie... ah, so you know la Réunion ?!? When did you go ? Where did you stay ? Tell me all please...

As for the rue Campane, like I said, I didn't see anything... just shadows...
;-)

=========

Susan, you are too kind by far... but if this has helped with a vicarious voyage, then it has succeeded... many thanks...

Owen said...

Hey James, it is a truly fabulous island, the landscape is just unreal... very dense. I think one would need months and months to really explore it, so many places are accessible only on foot...

===========

@eloh, ah @eloh...
perhaps we can spare you the broken glass ? But you will have to carry suitcases of unmarked bills on the next flight from Dallas or Atlanta, or maybe Memphis is closer, from Memphis there's a flight to Amsterdam...

But if you are really interested, do send me an e-mail, letting me know which ones, what size you'd like, I haven't sold any work in years and years... could probably work out some good quality prints with the local lab I use, the people who have been converting my b&w negatives to digital for me...

But in any case, am quite touched by your praise here... broken glass indeed !

Catherine said...

what stunning photos - truly beautiful - thos red flowers also grow in the tropical forests of Costa Rica - I would like to know the name too!!

Amy said...

It is quite the tangle of green on that island. Reminds me of Hawaii in some ways and Yosemite too. I love these verdant views.

And those plants are absolutely bizarre. I can't believe how vivid and alien the red ones are.

Jo said...

Owen, omigoodness that places looks wonderful...! The picture at the top actually made me feel dizzy looking into it.

I'm going to Google Reunion Island and have a look at some more of it.

Cheers!

Jo

jeff said...

Vraiment magnifique Owen ! Un très grand post !
Si après ça t'as pas envie d'aller d'aller à La Réunion ! ! !

Adios amigo...

Phil said...

hello
ca va ?

que c'est beau !
merveilleuse ile !
et la qualité des images fait que tu lui rend un bel hommage

j'admire et admire encore..
merci pour ce beau partage

amitiés
Phil

Lydia said...

I just took a very deep, cleansing breath while looking at these gorgeous photos. The flowers in particular are beyond beautiful.

Karine A. said...

tu nous donnes vraiment envie d'y aller Owen... A mon avis tu devrais proposer ton article à l'office du tourisme réunionnais !
Toute cette végétation luxuriante, quel régal, présenté avec des beaux mots plein d'enthousiame...
Le paradis pour grenouille et crapaud, isn't it?

Steve said...

What an incredibly lush and diverse landscape... I'm totally sold!

Nevine said...

Well, Owen. You sure know how to make someone fall in love with a place they've never visited. I'm particularly taken by your photos of the flowers... they're so gorgeous. And those red flowers are screaming incredible! It's nice to be able to have the memories settle in on a place we visited... slowly slowly... like lazy drizzle. Isn't it? I'm enjoying sharing that with you, so thank you for wanting to share it with us. Have I told you before that you're a gem? ;-)

Nevine

TechnoBabe said...

Such a beautiful setting. You are right though about the vertigo thing. Wow.

Heather Ainsworth said...

Beautiful images from a beautiful trip! How wonderful for you! *Absolutely loved the black and white photographs in previous posts. Excellent! Thank you for continuing to read my blog & the continued support. Things are well. Everything seems to be up in the air, but I'm just rolling with it... Peace to you, Owen;)

louciao said...

Ah. Enfin. Le vrai cirque du soleil! Magnifique. The thrills, the chills, the highs, the lows, the dazzling colours and death-defying climbs, all brought to us by our favourite ringmaster-cum lion tamer-cum clown extraordinaire.

clo said...

ho....Owen...
quelle merveille ce post...tes photos sont vraiment celles que j'attendais depuis ton retour...
cette si belle ile,luxuriante,foisonnante...hmmm...
des souvenirs ressurgissent a la vue de tes images...c'est toujours aussi grandiose....
merci pour ce partage...la dernière la sous mes yeux est magnifique...
et toutes ces fleurs :o)....
merci cher Owen....la halte etait tres rafraichissante....

bisoux et no problem...je viens te chercher quand tu arrives au train.....:o))

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

Amazing photos of a wonderful landscape. Beautiful. Thanks for introducing it to us.

Owen said...

Hi Catherine, it took a few moments to find, but worth the search... the red flower is an Etlingera elatior, or rose de porcelaine, there are some photos and info here in French :

http://www.mi-aime-a-ou.com/rose_de_porcelaine.php

Searching under the Latin name turns up other English names for it : also known as Torch Ginger, Ginger Flower, Red Ginger Lily, Torch Lily, Wild Ginger, Combrang, Bunga Siantan, Philippine Wax Flower, Xiang Bao Jiaing, Indonesian Tall Ginger, Boca de Dragón, Rose de Porcelaine, Porcelain Rose

So, there you go... I'd never seen one of these before.

============

Hi Amy... I've never been to Hawii but can imagine there may be alot of similarities, am going to have to get to Hawii one of these days to compare !

Owen said...

Hey Jo, just bring a parachute the next time before looking over the edge of that cliff... in case you fall into the photo... There's a multitude of info and photos about la Réunion out there on the web... it's a popular destination for alot of French folks, and some other Europeans... I heard they don't get alot of travellers from North America, a few though... A beautiful place to travel to. Well worth the trip...

===========

Salut Jeff ! Alors, tes valises sont faites ? On y va ?

Owen said...

Hi Phil, bien, merci... et oui, une belle destination qui vaut absolument le détour. Aussi frappant en expériences que le sud ouest américain... sur la Plaine des Sables près du volcan, on aurait pu être dans le désert de l'Arizona...
a+

================

Hi Lydia, deep breathing is a good thing... especially when looking at flowers... you are ready for Yoga classes now ?

Owen said...

Bonjour Karine A.
(je mets le "A." car il y a aussi .::Karine::. du blog Un Jour Une Vie qui passe parfois ici, un très beau blog aussi le sien... voir lien dans ma liste d'autres blogs Fun and Fascinating...)

Et oui, c'est vraiment le paradis pour grenouille et crapauds, d'ailleurs on en a vu plein, surtout à l'intérieur, dans les cirques, donc on se sentait chez nous !

Bon, on vera pour l'Office de Tourisme, ils doivent avoir de bons photographes sur place, comme Edgar, voir poste ci-dessous sur les cases créoles et la carte postale d'Edgar...

Merci bcp Karine, et bonne semaine à toi...

==================

Hi Steve, if you're sold, where's my cash ??? Suitcases of small denomination banknotes are just fine...
:-)

Owen said...

Dear Nevine...
Yes, I think you said (or did you just think it?) something about a diamond in the rough...
:-)
You made me think right away of one of my favorite songs ever that starts like this :

I hear the drizzle of the rain
Like a memory it falls
Soft and warm continuing
Tapping on my roof and walls

Name that song ? (without looking up the lyrics on Google, that's cheating...!)

It is a pleasure sharing these things, if it weren't for the blog they would sit in the bottom of a drawer until the day I die... and no one would ever see them... And if they cause a little falling in love also, well, that cannot be a bad thing... no ?

And thank you SO much for your Vonnegut reference, it was wonderful to read that one again, the man was a visionary. Player Piano is coming true too... Let's hope Cat's Cradle does NOT come true...

Big smiles to you...

Owen said...

Hi TechnoB., like I said to Jo above, just don't lean too close to the screen while looking at that one...
:-)

==============

Hi Heather, really good to hear from you... well keep rolling along peacefully then. Totally loved your Levon photos, had to get out Elton John's song to listen to while looking, and then The Weight...

Owen said...

Ah Lynne, you kill me ! ! ! That's it, this blog could be re-named Mr Toad's Three Ring Circus then... what do you think ???

You are too funny, with just a few words you pack a pound of smiles...

==================

Hola Clo ! et oui, des paysages splendides, flore maginifique... cette ile possede tout ce qu'il faut pour laisser des traces profondes dans les esprits des visiteurs... petit à petit les photos et les souvenirs vont sortir, si j'en faisais trop d'un seul coup ce serait too much... overdose... est-ce possible d'avoir un overdose de beauté ?
:-)
A bient^t chère Clo...

==================

Dear LGS, thanks very much... the only thing I didn't see there were... squirrels. Don't know if there are any. However, they do have a nifty little critter like a hedgehog, calle a Tangue, which I guess is a distant relative of yours, which you can see here :

http://www.mi-aime-a-ou.com/tangue.htm

Best wishes....

Tom Bejgrowicz said...

Forget abandonment for the moment, I need something real like this. Truly inspiring, Owen. Thanks for bringing some color into my day…

Owen said...

Hey Tom, you're very welcome... there will be some abandonment coming sooner or later, I have to get back to that sugar factory... will get there soon...

Eleonora said...

Just popped in to say I replied to your "wine" question over at my place. Check my comment box...

(hiccup)

L. said...

Stunning Photos!
I especially like the vegetation running rampant. Such a tangle of limbs. Beautiful :)

Oh and that waterfall! And the mountains... and the mist!

Okay, I love it all. :) Thanks for sharing your trip!

1ondoncalling said...

The Reunion Island is really like a paradise on earth!
I always wanted to see that island!
I also want to see Bora Bora.
This is not fair, how come French got all these beautiful islands?! Ha ha

Karin (an alien parisienne) said...

Hi Owen! I was catching up on a few posts on your blog today, and scrolled down from the current post to this one. WOW. The red flower photo made me exclaim out loud. Just gorgeous! What a wonderful place. I am so glad you got to experience Reunion and have been sharing it with us. :) Thanks.

.:: Karine ::. said...

mon adoré owen, ces fleurs rouges sont à tomber !
magnifiques !!!

Owen said...

Hi L., thanks so much ! And I just saw your "That's all folks"... am so sorry you had problems with someone... I guess the internet is sometimes far from being the friendly place we would like it to be. We live in a strange world, and it is getting stranger... stay strong...

========

Hi London Calling, thanks for dropping in here to this humble little blog... the French did seem to pick up some nice real estate back there in the 17th century... when land grabbing was common... Hope you will get to see the places you'd like to. I'd like to see Bora Bora too, and Bali, have never been out in that direction. Someday...

=========

Hi Karin, Hope all is well with you... the red porcelain roses were unreal, as were many things on la Réunion... it's well worth the trip !

===========

Bonjour Karine ! J'espère que finalement tu as pu te retenir, et ne pas tomber, à la vue de ces roses de porcelaine... ces fleurs étaient à vendre au bord de la petite route qui montait vers le cirque de Salazie... un endroit somptueux ! Bon weekend à toi ! ! !
:-)

Cergie said...

Ces deux roses de porcelaine sont magnifiques, on en trouve chez les fleuristes en Guyane, je n'en ai pas vues pendant mon séjour de 15 jours cependant. Il pousse des roses de porcelaine, il me semble différentes d'aspect, plus grasses, plus claires, en brousse en Côte d'Ivoire où j'ai vêcu enfant. Un souvenir de gosse, un rêve...
Par contre peut-être que ces bosquets de fleurs bleues j'en ai vus en Allemagne et en France dans les massifs. Les fleurs viennent de partout dans le monde mais ne sont pas toujours "rustiques" lorsqu'on les "acclimate" en Europe.