An amateur Australian photographer has captured a breathtaking bird’s-eye view of a receding lake in a series of photos, in which a “tree of life” appears to gain definition as the water’s drainage channels slowly empty.
New South Wales-based nature photographer Derry Moroney used a drone to capture his stunning collection, taken from above the salt waters of Lake Cakora at Brooms Head, where he lives.
(Courtesy of Derry Moroney Photography)
Moroney told My Modern Met that he was so struck by an aerial image captured after a huge rainstorm in July 2020 that he started visiting the site every two weeks.
“At the very end of the lake, the water runs out and it all spines out into a ‘tree of life’ look,” Moroney told the outlet.
The “tree of life” is often used as a spiritual symbol of the connection between all forms of creation. As such, Moroney’s images evoke powerful symbolism and quickly captured the attention of a huge online audience.
The photographer shared his photo series on Instagram.
Ocean tides and rainfall variously disrupt, fill, and diminish the waters of Lake Cakora, leaving streaks of bright aqua in stark contrast to rich sands, oil, and dense forest.
Moroney’s first image that became a viral hit shows the lake diminished after a storm, with the water, rich with dark brown tea tree oils from the surrounding trees, giving the “tree of life” illusion its definition.
“The most major change I have seen to the lake so far is the change of color that it goes through,” Moroney told My Modern Met, reflecting over six months of visiting the site.
“One day it can have aqua water run through it,” he said, “but then after storms, dramatic browns and raw earth colors pop out.”
Moroney took to Instagram on Jan. 12 to share a video of the radically-altered “tree of life,” six months after his initial aerial photo.
“Here is a video of the lake that has got so much attention for the last couple [of] days,” he posted. “It’s now pretty much empty but its beauty hasn’t gone anywhere. I hope you enjoy.”
At the time of starting his aerial project at Lake Cakora, Moroney had already been taking photos for three years.
“I eventually want to travel Australia, finding little spots like this and sharing them with the world,” Moroney explained. “I imagine it would be quite the adventure.”