I have had many photographs over the years that I really like. Some a lot more than others. Some of them I look at and don’t understand why I can’t be in the mind frame to take shots like that all the time. My favourites are probably not the most conventional, or properly composed ones I have ever taken, but they strike a cord with me.
In the Olympic forests of Washington there are plenty of quiet places to get away and take your time composing. I think this is what makes those shots some of my favs. It’s more about the place, and how it makes you feel that produces great photos. Even if nobody likes them, or you never sell a print. Or like me, you don’t even hang them on your walls. They mean something, and over time you look at them, and are transported back to where you feel good. And isn’t that the whole point in the first place?
For this one I wanted to focus on the massive structure of these great trees. They are so old, covered in fantastic moss, even the wood is so saturated with water that it is soft. And they just goes on forever.
I treated this like I do with most of my landscape shots. It’s an HDR, with a couple of soft tricks you can do in Ps, or Lr. It is a cool little trick known as the Orton Effect. This is where you use a Gaussian blur, and push it really far, so that the image is so blurry it looks like it’s underwater. Then start pulling back the opacity till it’s around 15% or so. And you will start to see the image as it was, with this amazing glow about it. As if it were shrouded in fog or mist. Really amazing for forest shots like this.
Most place I like to go to, I research a little before I leave. Look at maps and really try and get a feel for the place before I go. In Olympic National Park I thought I had done this to the best of my ability. But even Google maps doesn’t represent the size of this park in it’s true form. I had planned to get to the Hoh National Forest, with enough time to set up some kind of camp, get something to eat, and explore a bit. Sure enough I ended up making way into the campground around 11 at night… So there’s that I guess. This is the benefit to travelling by yourself. Nobody is put out but you 🙂
So as rainforests go, this is the total West Coast version. Hanging vines, mist that lasts all day… rain. It has it all! Not your typical tropical stuff, but so green and lush everywhere. It’s amazing. Everywhere you look there are trees that have fallen down, and have three or four other trees sprouting from their dead bodies. It looks like something out of the Jurassic period.
The one problem here is trying to get a good shot when it never stops raining. I mean it never stopped the whole time I was there! I should have been miserable with the cold wet, but it was actually okay. I just couldn’t imagine that a place like this exists right outside of a city like Seattle. And no offence to Seattle, I love that city, but it’s dirty. Really dirty! This is like a dirty forest. Not clean cut like most, but falling over itself with death and decay, but with a sweet smell of new growth. And so full of Elk. I saw packs of thirty or so on the road the next morning. And these guys don’t move for anyone.