Or maybe I should have titled this post “The Lure Of The Trail.” Both are appropriate and actually meld into one another. I love leading lines – they are my favorite theme – and my favorite type of leading line is a trail. That trail leads the viewer’s eye deeper into the composition and onward to whatever adventure awaits. And trails within forests are my favorite, if for no other reason than the forest’s interior glow surrounded by green and brown shadows.
All of the images above were captured with my Sony Alpha 7riv and a 16-35mm lens during my 2020 October visit to Redwood National and State Parks. And all of these images were captured along one of the many trails in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park in northern California. The tops of the trees are veiled a little bit in mist, as this trip was during the height of all the wildfires in California. Smoke drifted in from everywhere.
My monthly photo column is now published in the National Parks Traveler. In it, I talk about how Redwood National and State Parks are the perfect places to capture plenty of vertical shots, with the occasional horizontal thrown in for good measure.
To read the article, click on the photo above.
The image above is of Howland Hill Road, a dirt and gravel road through Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park, which takes the driver to the parking area of Stout Grove. This road was my first introduction to redwoods, and I actually almost got lost trying to find the road. You see, the road runs for about 7 miles and you can enter it either just outside of Crescent City, CA, or a mile or two east of the Haiouchi Visitor Center along CA Highway 199. I opted for the Crescent City approach only to discover that road was closed less than a mile in, for construction work. I was hemmed in by huge construction tractors and had to gingerly make my way back down the hill and onto the highway to get to Howland Hill Road via the Hwy 199 route. The drive was worth it, though, as Stout Grove is a perfect introduction to coastal redwoods.
If you only have a short time to spend in Redwood National and State Parks, in northern California, then you should read my latest article published in the National Parks Traveler, about what you can do and see in just three days in this collaboration of national and state parks.
To read the article, click on the image above.
Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.
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Yeah, I’ve been posting quite a few tree and forest interior images. It’s what you do when you visit Olympic National Park. This shot was captured during a hike along the Sol Duc Falls trail in the Sol Duc Valley. There are all sorts of lovely, deep, quiet, photo ops and the trees always look very interesting. This tall tree in front appears to be growing right out of or at least, very close to, the tree behind it, if you look closely at the root structure at the bottom of the trees.
The moral of this story is that you should observe the scenes around you and not keep your head down as you head toward your sole purpose of hiking the trail in the first place (in this case, to get to Sol Duc Falls). The more you observe, the better your compositions become.
Scenery along the Hall of Mosses trail, with and without the Orton Effect, Hoh Rain Forest, Olympic National Park
Just as I have memorized the ingredients to only one drink (a prosecco margarita) so that I no longer need to look up the recipe, I have now memorized how to create the Orton Effect in a photo and won’t need to look up the instructions. What is the Orton Effect? It’s a method of creating a dreamy, Lord Of The Rings-type atmosphere within an image. Oh, I still prefer my images to look natural, but I must admit, the Orton Effect, when used judiciously, looks kinda cool, is easy to create (if you know how to create a Layer in Photoshop), and adds to the other photo editing stuff in my repertoire. The more I learn, the better I become.
Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved
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I’m glad I visited Olympic National Park when I did, because it’s got some rainy weather going on now and probably will for the foreseeable future, I am guessing. Fall is coming. Winter is coming. Lots of rain and wet are coming to the Olympic Peninsula.
I captured this image because, as I was wandering the Hall of Mosses trail in the Hoh Rain Forest, I noticed the sun peeking through the trees. It created what is called a “single point light source” and is great for producing photographic sunbursts. I’d already set the tripod and camera up to photograph the interesting roots, and that little bit of sunburst light was a cherry on top.
I used my Pentax 645z medium format camera for this. I don’t use this camera as often as I should, because it produces wonderful images. As a matter of fact, I’m taking it with me on my forthcoming Yellowstone trip. I’m not even going to tell you how heavy the camera pack is, or the fact that I am carrying one of the long lenses in my laptop bag so I don’t have to put anything in checked luggage. 😁
While photographing the Hoh Rain Forest, I noticed my compositions were so “busy.” Lifting my eyes away from the viewfinder, I took a really good look at the scenery and realized that the rain forest is, indeed, full of “busy-ness.” There is a riot of tree limbs, branches and trunks, mosses draped over the limbs and carpeting the trunks, ferns and other flora blanketing the ground, and so many shades of greens and browns.
It’s Waterfall Wednesday! So here’s a photo I took during my recent trip to Olympic National Park. It’s Marymere Falls, an easy .7-mile (one-way) hike on a well-trafficked trail behind the Storm King Ranger Station just a hop and a skip from Lake Crescent Lodge.
I talk about photographing Marymere Falls as well as Sol Duc Falls in my next installment of the Armchair Photography Guide for Olympic National Park, to be published Oct 1st in the National Parks Traveler site, so be on the lookout for Part 2 – The Forests. I mention this now because I’ll be in Yellowstone National Park at that time and don’t know what kind of internet service I’ll have around there.
In the meantime, this shot, taken at the upper level of the overlook, demonstrates the “silky water” technique and making use of the surrounding ferns for natural framing around the photo subject.
I can remember when photographing a forest was sort of an afterthought. Now, I love walking into the forests to photograph the myriad shades of green, the different patterns and textures, and perhaps, if I am lucky, to capture the inner glow of a forest.
The forests of Sol Duc are old growth. They are different from the mossy rain forests of the Hoh and Quinault in that they are taller – or, at least, they stand straighter, like toothpicks – and it’s a bit drier in the Sol Duc. That’s not to say there isn’t moss coating the trees, because there is, just not as much, I think.
I was heading out of the Sol Duc and on to Lake Crescent when I stopped to photograph the Sol Duc River. I spied some interesting scenes within the shadowed interior of the forest across the road and noticed there was a trail – the North Fork Sol Duc River Trail, I believe. So I took my tripod and camera and set up on different portions of the trail to photograph the tall trees and green fern-carpeted forest floor.
A tripod is the best way to photograph the shadowy forest interior. That way, you can use a low ISO (200) and a slower shutter speed (5 sec) while keeping your aperture relatively small (f/9).
I would imagine that with the onset of fall, things are probably getting a little wetter out there now. I think I went at just the right time.
When I visited Olympic National Park this past January 2019, the government shutdown was still in force, and the park entrance to the Hoh Rainforest was closed and blockaded due to heavy debris on the road with no ranger service to clean it up. I was aching to see some park rainforest (and wanted to get photos for my National Parks Traveler articles), so I drove south of Kalaloch about 27 miles to enter the park portion of the Quinault Rainforest. Not too far along the road after entering is a parking lot for a picnic area and short loop trail over July Creek. Nobody else was there that damp, moody morning, so I had the place to myself. I spent quite awhile photographing the creek and the greenery around it, just from my vantage point on that bridge in the photo. After a bit, I moved off and turned my camera and tripod toward the bridge. I also used the “silky water” technique to make the creek water look satiny. For those of you who might want to try this technique for yourself, you should have either a polarizer filter or a neutral density filter on your lens. Set your camera on a tripod and experiment with slow shutter speeds while keeping everything else set for good exposure. The dark tint of the filter allows you to smooth out the water while preventing overexposure of everything else.
I will be bypassing the Quinault Rainforest for my next Olympic National Park trip (which I start tomorrow), so I’m glad I was able to visit this particular area of the park earlier in the year.
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