Video: Spend a Year in the Forest in Three Minutes

Candice Gaukel Andrews September 4, 2014 4

Approximately 40,000 still images were blended together to create PBS photographer Samuel Orr’s video, titled “A Forest Year.” ©Samuel Orr

Forests are important for our welfare for a very long list of reasons, a few of which are:

  • they provide us with medicines;
  • they manufacture breathable air: just one adult, leafy tree can produce as much oxygen in a season as 10 people inhale in a year;
  • they fight flooding;
  • they muffle sound pollution;
  • they keep the Earth cool by storing CO2 in wood, leaves and soil (often for hundreds of years);
  • they help us live longer; and
  • nearly half of all known species live in forests, including 80 percent of the biodiversity on land, including endangered apes and rare spirit bears.

Although anchored in one spot, a tree is an amazingly communicative entity that is capable of adapting to varying environmental conditions and changing with the seasons that surround it. One Public Broadcasting Service videographer decided to put that reality into pictures.

From 2006 to 2008, Samuel Orr lived in a quiet, little cabin in Indiana while filming several nature documentaries on the natural history of the state for PBS. Because he felt his cabin, which was located near a nature preserve, was in such a beautiful part of the woods, he decided to experiment with time-lapse photography. He set up a camera on a tripod near a window; and every day over the course of 15 months, he took still images of the same scene of a tree in the forest. He compiled 40,000 of those photographs into a video—accompanied by music from Johnny Ripper—which you can watch, below.

For the next three minutes, then, spend a whole year in a forest. You just may experience a few other benefits from that long list: a lower heart rate and a reduced level of stress.

Here’s to finding your true places and natural habitats,





  1. Nadine K. September 8, 2014 at 3:37 pm - Reply

    Absolutely magnificent. The skill alone in just compiling those photos! All our forests must be fully protected so they can protect the lives dependent upon them…..that includes us!

  2. Patricia Follweiler September 8, 2014 at 1:56 pm - Reply

    It took a lot of dedication to take those stills and assemble them into the video! I can’t imagine living where there are not four seasons, but I know that many people do. Nice break in my work day!

  3. Lorraine Dumas September 7, 2014 at 8:49 am - Reply

    Thank you. Lovely.

  4. Thomas Sawyer September 5, 2014 at 1:55 pm - Reply

    Very nice Candy. How fortunate many of us are to be able to experience all four seasons. In Colorado they can often appear in a matter of days

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