Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Inspiring Redwoods - My Vision

When I drove to northern California a few years ago, I had a idea in my head of how I want my picture of the redwoods to look. But I wondered if I could pull it off. A lot depended on luck. I had this vision of sunlight bursting through the mist that often hangs around these magnificent giants.

The redwoods along the northern coast of California receive about 70 inches of rainfall each year just from their own needles and branches -- water that condensates and collects from the fog that shrouds these huge trees. As the fog rolls in from the ocean each day, droplets of water condensate and build larger on the needles until they drop to the forest floor. As the fog rolls further inland, occasional breaks in these low-hanging clouds allow sunlight to burst through between the branches.

The key is to be there when these rare breaks in the fog and clouds occur. Driving back and forth along the coastal highways, looking ahead for possible upcoming breaks increases you chances for success. And that is what happened on this late August day, just a few miles south of Crescent City. The break came in an instant and last for only about 90 seconds. Jumping out of my car, I was able to get off about a dozen shots before the rays of light were gone.

About 15 years ago I started a stock photo project of trying to discover and photograph "conceptual icons in nature." The idea was to find and photograph simple and dramatic concepts in nature that were instantly recognizable, even when reduced to a thumbnail size. "Inspiring Redwoods" is one of those successful images that follows those principles. It was a lucky shot, but I had envisioned the concept and prepared myself to capture the image when it appeared.

You can also view my Flickr Photostream to see more of "My Vision."

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