Finding the Perfect Redwoods Picture

by | Jun 29, 2015 | Stories & Expeditions | 2 comments

When I arrived in Sacramento yesterday for the Family Conference ACTION Photography Team here this week, it started bringing back memories of the last time I was in California . . .

Have you ever seen a picture of some place you wished you could go? Well, where the great redwood trees grow is a place I always wished (and still continue to wish!) I could go. I’ve always been fascinated by old growth forests. And after the Sacramento Family Conference last year, I couldn’t help but plan to stop in and see them. Like, I was so close! How could I not?!

Morning seemed to be a fabulous time to stop in at Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park. It’s impossible to describe the majesty of these trees and the smallness one feels standing beneath them!

3275_Santa Cruz-California-USA_Canon EOS 5D Mark II, 40 mm, 1-25 sec at f - 4.0, ISO 1600

But while I was there, I remember looking for a very specific composition. I was looking for a grove of redwoods that would almost form a ring around me so that, when looking up, there would be a balanced number of trees on all sides pointing straight up into the sky.

You thought that this sort of picture would be easy to come across. But as we meandered through the silent forest, I was quite surprised just how uncommon it was to find “a ring” of redwoods. There were plenty of redwoods, and there were often places where, when you looked up, the redwoods would appear to form a semi-circle, or even three quarters of a circle. But how interesting it was to realize that perhaps there was no such thing as a ring of redwoods!

But that’s when, near the end of the trail, there happened to be just what I was looking for. When I saw it, I felt it in my bones. It was perfect. It wasn’t man made. It was completely natural. An large number of evenly spaced trees just happened to be growing in a sort of ring there in the middle of the forest.

I set my camera in the center, placed as wide an angle lens as I had on the camera, and shot for a three-exposure composite to grasp the dynamic range between the deep, dark woods and the bright, morning sky.

I won’t be able to make it out to the redwoods again on this time in California, but I’m at least enjoying this new desktop background! Feel free to download it for yourself too:

In Awesome Wonder
Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park, Santa Cruz, California
STANDARD1280 x 1024px (5:4)
LARGE 1440 x 900px (8:5)
WIDESCREEN 1600 x 900px (6:9)

HDR3293_JAS-Santa Cruz-07614 L

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  1. Kelly Drew Foster

    Hello! This picture is beautiful! Is there any way I could attain a plain version of it to use for my small nutritional business that I am starting up in Santa Rosa, CA? Thanks for considering! Best, Kelly

    • James Staddon

      Sure thing, Kelly! Thanks for asking! I’ll be in touch with you shortly.


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