The Redwoods - Avenue of the Giants

The Redwoods - Avenue of the Giants


Hello and Happy New Year,

I did a lot of driving around Florida during the holidays to see family and friends which gave me some unique photo opportunities near the Everglades and Lido Key in Sarasota. While I enjoy new landscapes and scenery it is good to get back to a more normal routine. In a future newsletter, I will highlight some nice photos from my Florida holiday landscapes, one of the photos made it to FOX 13's Paul Dellegatto's facebook page with over 2K likes.

When entering the redwood forest for the first time, one feels as if they are in a fairy tale. Trees that tower into the skies with bases wider than most cars, these trees manage to dim the bright light of the sun at high noon. Photographing these giants proves challenging due to the harsh lighting and finding a pleasing composition. Showing the grand scale of these trees in a photo is another unique challenge. A photo does not show scale unless a person or everyday object is included in the composition. A photo of just a stand of redwoods may simply look like any other stand of trees and will not depict the size or scale.

Our trip to the Humboldt Redwood Forest started with a 300 mile drive from San Francisco to the Avenue of the Giants. As we arrived in the late afternoon I eagerly jumped out of the car as soon we saw our first patch of these magnificent trees. Standing in awe of these trees for a few seconds; I finally grabbed my Canon 6D and the widest lens I owned, the Canon 16mm-35mm f/4. I quickly discovered the fact that not much light makes it into the forest and its surroundings. Shooting at f/10 and with low ISO was not possible without a tripod which I did not bring on this trip. The ISO setting remained between 500 and 2000 as I experimented with lower f stops and compositions. My most challenging shot required a f/16 stop in order to split the sun into a nice starburst. I took 3 exposures at +-2 stops in order to capture the wide range of shadows and highlights. The unedited RAW images from this composition looked unusable upon first inspection, mostly all shadows with a starburst. I almost discarded the originals but decided to attempt shadow recovery in Lightroom with additional advanced techniques in Photoshop. The end result made the cover photo for this newsletter.

When you plan your trip to this magnificent area consider stopping at Myer's Flat and Myer's Inn which makes a nice layover point. Bring a tripod and a wide and fast lens. I recommend a 14mm f/2.8 or faster lens either from Rokinon or the new Sigma Digital Art lens at 14mm and f/1.8 on a full frame camera. If you have the budget or can rent one, Canon has a 11-24mm linear super ultra wide lens. I can only imagine what could be captured at 11mm, until next time - keep those shutters open.