Can you believe this place? No, this isn't some mythical postcard studio, this is a real place. Humboldt Redwoods State Park is on Rt. 101 south of Humboldt proper. As you drive up 101 along the Eel River, you can take a side-road called the Avenue of the Giants, which brings you through some of the largest, oldest Coast Redwood trees in existence. When we visit, we stay at the Hidden Springs Campground, which we highly recommend. Just downhill from the campground, across the Avenue of the Giants, is this path. It will take you through these majestic Redwoods down to a fantastic swimming hole at the Eel River where, in the early summer, the water is the perfect combination of temperature and clarity.
Okay, enough about the location, let's talk about the shot. The best time to shoot outdoors is early in the morning, and this place is no exception. The overcast sky dulls out the harsh shadows that would wreck contrast-havoc on a forest photograph.
A necessity when shooting under the forest canopy is a tripod. You want to have a long depth of field to get everything in focus, so you'll have to use a high f-stop and a long shutter speed. It's pretty much impossible to get a nice shot in these conditions without a tripod. Also, early in the morning, there is very little wind, which would blur the branches as they sway.
It is very tempting, when surrounded on all sides by such beauty, to use a wide-angle lens and take it all in at once. Try to avoid such temptation when shooting trees because the fish-eye effect will become more noticeable. Trees are supposed to be straight-up-and-down, not bowed out to the side. Besides, using a longer lens will force you to tap your creativity and display the beauty that everyone else missed.
This place is too cool. Stay tuned for more pictures from Humboldt Redwoods State Park and the Eel River... I think I'm going to do my first photo-series on DeArmond.net.