Photographing redwoods is difficult. Conveying the size of the trees requires some sort of a visual anchor, and I want to avoid including people or man-made objects in my photos. Using a wide angle lens emphasizes the foreground and thus visually reduces the size of the trees; at the same time, the ferns and even the clover leafs are much bigger in redwood forests, taking another visual clue away.

And then there’s the “loss of magic”, of course, because the entire sensation of three-dimensionality, standing amidst those giant trees, is missing. I am of the opinion that elevating an image beyond the sheer depiction of reality often helps with it. For this redwood image, I’ve chosen a process that is something like a mixture between the classic high-key and bleach-bypass techniques, resulting in a very bright appearance with crisp detail. I’ve yet to see if I can apply the process to other images in order to form a little series.

Redwood forest photograph by Alexander S. Kunz
Redwood Forest 4 — Prairie Creek Redwood State Park, near Klamath, CA. May 2013.
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4 Responses

  1. I think the process works as intended here. Having someone hug the tree is always a good way to include scale, though this ruins the aesthetics in other ways. I’m not sure one can ever really accurately convey the experience of being around large trees, but perhaps that is a good thing.

  2. Having been thru the magnificent Redwood forest many times, standing in awe as I gazed up at their majestic beauty, I feel you captured them in a wonderful way. It is hard to believe that they will one day be gone. If it were not for person’s like yourself preserving them thru your vision, generations yet to be born would never know that such places existed. I love the forrests of my home state and the pain I feel as I watch them slowly fade away as a result of greed and mismanagement, is very real. Can I suggest the Hoh Rain Forest or the Olympic National Forest, both in Washington, as potential sites that I feel you would love to photograph. You would show them, as you do all your subjects, in your special and wonderful way. Your invited anytime. :-)

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