The Photograph

That's an Australian eucalypt. They're dramatic trees! A eucalyptus grows a new layer of bark each year, in the process sometimes tearing the existing bark into strips (as the photograph shows). The trees exude a wonderfully aromatic oil that, on warm days, vaporizes into a bluish haze (hence the name of the Blue Mountains outside Sydney). They also depend on periodic fires, a practice at which the Aborigines are especially skilled.

The redness of the background isn't a Photoshop trick. This is Kata Tjuta, a remarkable rock formation near Australia's iconic Uluru. As the photograph suggests, the formation is made up of conglomerate with iron-oxide impurities.

Here's the full-sized imageShriram, CC By-NC-SA 3.0).

The Dots

The dot-painting style is frequently found in contemporary Aboriginal art. While it has a certain cliched quality, it is also an instantly recognizable symbol of the culture and ostensibly represents a dreaming (though that is simply a (possibly reductionist) interpretation we place on a concept that does not translate easily—the same way we often approach new programming languages).