A giant sequoia like The President isn't easy to capture on film. At 247 feet tall and 27 feet in diameter, it takes a lot of hefty equipment to capture the majesty of the second biggest tree on earth.
In this video, you get a brief glimpse into the process as writer David Quammen and photographer Michael “Nick” Nichols climb The President on assigment for National Geographic. The reason for the portraits was to show the true grandeur of the organisms, Nichols said in the video.
"When [people] see the tree in its totality, without distortion, they gasp," he said.
The journalists went alongside Humboldt State University scientist Steve Sillett who conducts research for the Redwoods and Climate Change Initiative. Sillett and fellow RCCI scientists are trying to find out how changes in global temperature could affect these trees. The story and its images were on the cover of National Geographic’s December issue (for more photos, check out the National Geographic site).
The President is found in the Giant Forest in Sequoia National Park, California. While it isn't the tallest tree on earth, the girth of giant sequoias is unmatched. (The only tree larger than The President is another nearby sequoia called General Sherman.) And at 3,200 years old, the tree is growing faster than ever. According to Sillett's research, the older Sequoias get, the more they grow.
The National Geographic team traveled to Sequoia National Park in February to capture images of The Presdent in the snow.
"The portrait was taken in the winter, not beause the science team was there then, but because Nick wanted to see the tree in the winter,” Quammen told National Parks Traveler. “He was thinking that that was just a very majestic and also revealing way to do a portrait of it because they are in winter conditions for five or six months."