I’m up along the far northern California coast, scouting for my upcoming redwood workshops. I just love this area, and I’m having fun exploring some new locations, as well as reacquainting myself with old favorites.
We’ve had off-and-on showers, with periods of soft light broken up by sunshine and interesting clouds. On Tuesday afternoon a rain squall passed through, and then skies cleared late in the afternoon – perfect conditions for photographing some of the sea stacks that are so abundant along the coast here. I’ve included three images from that afternoon below.
I found a redwood grove that gets sunlight very late in the afternoon, and watched beautiful amber light streaming through the forest as I walked along the trail. Photographing a forest with patches of sun and shade is a lot like photographing a landscape with dappled light from broken clouds. The light has to highlight the most interesting parts of the scene for it to work, but when that happens the modulated, chiaroscuro lighting can add depth, dimension, and mood to the photograph. I found a couple of compositions where the light hit just the right places: the image of redwoods and rhododendrons at the top, and the one with faint sunbeams below.
Both of these photos are good examples of the kind of small-scale lighting events that I wrote about in an earlier post. The rhododendron happened to grow in a spot illuminated by one of the very last rays of sun, while the faint sunbeams were only visible from one particular spot, and luckily were juxtaposed with a nice pattern of light on the ferns below.
There’s such a nice contrast here between the quiet, peaceful redwood forests, and the wild, rocky, stormy coast. Moody landscapes abound. I’m really looking forward to the workshops!
— Michael Frye