1/21/09 in the Redwoods
We’ve had spectacular weather for the last 2 weeks here in Port Orford! Sunny and in the upper 60’s to mid 70’s, and one day hit 81. Now we are back to more normal, with clouds rolling in, and rain predicted for tonight.
Last week, we took a full day and drove 80 miles south to Crescent City, CA. The ocean views along the way were very tempting, but we had a destination in mind, and managed to stick to it. Most of the way through Crescent City, on the Redwood Highway, we turned east on Elk Valley road. About a mile out, we went right on Howland Hill road, which starts uphill in another mile. It turns into a gravel road, narrow and not a good one for big motorhomes or if towing a trailer.
Being a lesser road, there’s also far fewer people! Shortly after the top of the hill, you enter big trees. From this point on, it’s just a matter of getting out of the car and walking around. There’s great picture possibilities everywhere! The road follows a stream, along one side of a small valley, so there are many spots where one can get water and redwoods in the same photo.
Lighting in deep woods is always a hassle when the sun’s out. Deep shadows and brilliant highlights are next to impossible to capture, unless shooting HDR (high dynamic range) multiple photos of the same scene at different exposures, then combining the best parts of each in the computer. I did a couple of these that were successful, but, since I nearly always shoot panorama images of 6-12 shots and stitch them, I rarely shoot HDR too. It means at least 2-3 times as many exposures.
My real preference in these places is FOG. Not only does it give nice even light, it also separates close trees from the background, making the subject stand out very nicely. Overcast days are pretty good also.
I’ll be watching the weather reports, and checking the webcams on the northern California coast for a good thick fog, and we’ll head down again.