Photos in the Coast Redwoods | Tips
2010 - 2013 by M. D. Vaden
Here are a few suggestions for taking photographs in the Coast Redwood forests.
- 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.