The Rainforest at Night

As an armchair biologist – sitting at home watching Discovery Channel or National Geographic – it was easy for me to watch the aerial, helicopter views of sweeping rainforests shrouded in mist and a dense, green canopy. What I didn’t realize is that the rainforest is so much more than a panoramic place, but an evolutionary microcosm masterpiece. It is a world of the miniature taking place in individual ecosystems as a cohesive whole. For me, my favorite time to enter the rainforest is at night, long after the last light of the sun has set. At this hour, the real action takes place. Leaves literally come alive, the sounds magnify to an almost deafening level and everywhere your narrow beam of light shines, a pair of eyes glimmer back at you. It’s at this moment you realize that a great army of life is at work and that come morning, after a long night of labor, the trees and forest sighs and a great plume of mist floats up out of the canopy and becomes the air that makes life here, on Earth, possible. What they exhale, we inhale.These photos were taken over the last few days in Taman Negara Rainforest in North Central Malaysia. This jungle is considered the oldest jungle in the world at nearly 130 million years old – more than the Congo or Amazon.
rainforest2

stickbug

spider

hopper

The underside of Mushrooms growing on a fallen tree.
shrooms

A different species than above, some mushrooms – a rare breed – have a bioluminescence that makes them glow a brilliant green at night and is a sign to predatory worms that they are poisonous. Tiny – nearly the size of a pencil eraser – I laid on the ground in the forest (in total darkness) for nearly the longest 70 seconds of my life while this exposure was made.

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