Redwoods in Stout Grove

Photos in the Coast Redwoods | Tips

Continued from: Coast Redwood Information

2010 - 2013 by M. D. Vaden


Here are a few suggestions for taking photographs in the Coast Redwood forests.

Redwood Photography by Mario Vaden displayed framed
  • Carry or have extra batteries on hand
  • For every horizontal redwood photo, maybe take another vertically
  • The wet season, October - June, is the best season for redwood photography:
    • Views are more numerous because leaves have fallen
    • Mosses and lichens moisten and greens seem to look best
    • Rain moistens needles on the ground, enriching the color
    • Trunks become more colorful
    • Dust has been washed off evergreens and ferns
    • Colorful mushrooms are more abundant
    • The number of seasonal brooks flowing is increased
    • Less visitors, making photography in popular locations easier
  • For size comparison
    • Stand to the side of the redwood vs. center to convey size
  • Many best redwood photos are due to right place & right time
    • Fog may or may not be present in a Rhododendron patch
    • Lady Bird Johnson grove does not get rays of light every day
    • Do not expect the best ... but look for the best you can find
  • Some folks like circular polarizers to lessen white gleam on wet leaves
  • Using 2 second timer can lessen chance of moving the camera
  • If light looks great ... don't chat about it ... get moving ... it can change in mere minutes ... take that beauty now
  • Capture 5 times more pics than you might usually take
    • For the 2009 National Geographic, Nichols took 10,000+ photos, using a mere handful
  • The farther back you stand, the less the lens should taper the upper trunk
  • If you can't get the whole redwood in one shot - try a photo stitch
    • Photograph the redwood trunk in sections
    • Overlap the frames
  • For portraits, bridges at Prairie Creek trail and James Irvine trail within 1/2 of the visitor center are photogenic.
  • Red and marroon fabrics are particularly good for portraits
  • Sun rays are unpredictable. A Crescent City motel and Del Norte Redwoods may help tackle this. Virtually side-by-side.
  • Many people aim cameras upward at the canopy. If there is mist, clean the lens between photos
  • If you put your lens cap in a pocket, put the lens side away from your body / sweat
  • A tiny compact umbrella may be your ticket to nice photos on many rainy days
  • Get up a daybreak. Almost every day yields an awesome shot the first 2 hours of daylight, often the final 2 hours
  • If there is cloud and overcast, good chance the entire day is great for photography
  • With DSLR, a f/2.8 lens is often nicer than f/4.0 ... if you don't own, consider renting one
  • On the return hike , look again at the best you photographed going in. Often it's better going out, worth another go
  • Prairie Creek Redwoods Drury Parkway offers an "Avenue of the Giants" road shot if you don't make it to Humboldt


HDR / High Dynamic Range Imaging in the Redwoods ?

Give it a try.

Some views it seems to look worse. For other photos, it seems to do better ... salvaging them.