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.
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.
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.
I have no idea what possessed me to look up at this particular juncture during my foray along the Grove of The Patriarchs Trail in Mount Rainier National Park. I think it might have been to see if I could spot the little bird that was singing so exuberantly. The moment my eyes lit upon this forked tree top and the spider web between the prongs, I immediately thought of Sauron’s searching eye in The Return Of The King.
It’s Forest Friday! Yeah, still trying to work on those alliterative terms for the photos and days of the week. Sometimes it works, other times are iffy.
As for this image, when I was growing up, even into my early 30’s, I was never really interested in the forest. Hiking through it was boring and a means to an end of getting to some awesome mountain vista. Then, my digital camera days began, and things changed. I began to actually observe my interior forest surroundings. Even though green has never been a favorite color of mine, I began to discern all the myriad shades of green a forest possesses. I began to see the different mosses on the trees and nurse logs, and I began noticing fungi, from large, dish-shaped ones to teeny tiny delicate little ‘shrooms growing out of the side of a decaying log. That digital camera opened up a new world for me – one that had always existed but for which I never had much time or inclination to explore, and I began to actually *observe* my forest surroundings, which, in turn, has made me a much better photographer.
If you look at this image and keep peering at it and through it to as far as your eye can make out, you’ll see all sorts of different colors and textures and patterns, thanks to the waters of the Pacific Northwest.
All images on these posts are the exclusive property of Rebecca L. Latson and Where The Trails Take You Photography. Please respect my copyright and do not use these images on Pinterest, Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram, Snapchat or any other business, personal or social website, blog site, or other media without my written permission. Thank you.
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