Much to my delight, this photo seems to have taken on a life of its own on tumblr, with well over 20,000 (and sort of counting - it's split into many many different threads) reblogs, comments, and likes. Some of the comments have been extremely moving, and make me happy to have had a chance to reach people who I will never meet, will never know me, and probably will never see a single other photo I have taken. It seems to mean a lot to some people - upon clicking through to one blog recently I read a comment that possibly sums up every single piece of motivation for why I take pictures. It said simply "This gives me hope".
Same story as the last picture: In the 1930s and 1940s, Puerto Rico was almost totally deforested for agriculture (chiefly as sugar, coffee and tobacco plantations for export to the United States). Now, forests cover around 50% of the island. Some other Columbia students and I have been researching what factors brought about this change.
In the northern karst region we found a limestone cave, which, after winding through it in total darkness, opened out on a sheer cliff face, with a breathtaking view of a lush, forested valley beneath.
Look at the flickr selection of my interesting photos here.
Tags: puerto rico cave cavern mouth opening entrance exit cliff face vista forest karst limestone silhouette explore river landscape climate change research columbia university earth institute freedom reward transition window cueva ventana gettysub3 pr vis