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FORESTS IN THE RAIN
2001 / OCTOBER

When seeking to escape from the confines of city life, which hems us about by concrete buildings, it is forests that draw us most irresistibly. Their attraction goes far beyond just the promise of clean air and exercise, especially when we recall that humanity's existence depends on their preservation. Some of the most beautiful and extensive forests in Turkey are those of the western and central Black Sea regions, with their high precipitation and temperate climate. Since the forests cover a wide range of altitude, temperature variations and soil types, they are composed of a wide range of tree species, including many trees of great age, and are home to a great diversity of wildlife. The large areas of natural deciduous forest contain species such as beech, the most common tree of all, Oriental beech, hornbeam, chestnut, linden, alder, common ash, various species of maple, oak, birch, poplar and cornelian cherry. Conifers include mainly firs, but also black pine, yew and Scot's pine.

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FORESTS IN THE RAIN
2001 / OCTOBER

Forests of broad leafed trees are beautiful in different ways in each season, varying in their colour, form, and fragrance. When you visit a forest frequently the rate of change is more easily comprehended. Indeed, the constant and rapid change over the year is dizzying, especially in spring and autumn. These are also the seasons when the forests are at their loveliest. In spring the new leaves, bright green, fresh and delicate, gleam in the sunshine which filters down from the forest canopy, and the new shoots and flowers of many colours and scents in the glades are entrancing. Everywhere you can see the woodland waking up before your eyes.Then the lazy days of summer arrive, when the forest is at its leafiest and most tranquil. While from a distance all the leaves look green and all the tree trunks brown, up close every species is found to be quite distinctive in colour and texture. With the rains of autumn the colours of the forest change again, becoming ever brighter as the skies become duller. If you visit a beech forest on a rainy day, the trunks which looked grey in sunlight reveal beautiful patterns in

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FORESTS IN THE RAIN
2001 / OCTOBER

myriad tones when wet with rain, just as pebbles on a beach become as bright as gem stones when splashed by the waves. This is when the colours, scents and patterns of the forest are at their most exquisite. In no season is the forest so spectacular as in autumn, when its flaming colours light up the landscape from the beginning of October to mid-November. The leaves of different tree species take on every tone of yellow, red and brown, and you never see the same pattern of colours from one day to the next, since the forest alters so swiftly. Where there is a mixture of broad leafed trees and conifers, the colour scheme is particularly striking. The golden yellow of the trembling poplars, bright yellow and red of the beeches, and red of the cornelian cherry stand out against the dark green of the firs. If you climb through the deciduous forest towards the tree line you will be astonished to see that at higher altitudes the same trees have very different colours. And if snow has fallen on the higher ground, the view is pure magic.

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FORESTS IN THE RAIN
2001 / OCTOBER

For forest vistas of this kind, places to visit include the Yenice Forest, Bolu Mountains, Küre Mountains and Canik Mountains. Equally lovely is the sight of leaves of many colours carpeting the surface of the water of rivers and lakes, creating pictures that might have come from the brushes of the impressionists. The Seven Lakes in the Bolu Mountains is one place to enjoy such scenes. Then as autumn makes way for winter the forests undergo another transformation, as against the background of evergreens and conifers, the deciduous trees reveal their leafless skeletons in a new kind of starker beauty. And so the cycle begins again.

* Ali Ihsan Gökçen is a photographer.

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