Occidental, California, USA by Ed Lark

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Picture Story

On an overcast morning, just before the Covid shutdown of the forests and trails, I was walking to The Grove of The Old Trees in Occidental, California. I found that Redwood Trees are best for me with overcast skies. Too much contrast when the sun hits the forest. This particular morning was blissful. Nary a soul anywhere and the paths were nicely padded so you couldn't even hear your footsteps! Dead still.

This day I decided to challenge myself with one lens. I chose my 300mm f/2.8L II. This choice allowed me to get close to the textures of the bark without stepping on the fragile roots systems of these beautiful souls. So often, I have gone for the wide to capture the canopy or the greater view of the forest. The telephoto allowed me to dive into the intimate wonders of these magnificent trees.

Near the end of my walk towards the car, I saw a part of a fern caught in the bark of a large tree. A good guess is this tree was well over 1000 years old judging by the diameter and this one had seen fire in its day. The beautiful curve of the fern in contrast to the rough bark was truly a compositional gift from the forest!

The 300 was wonderful for this. I was able to get a tight, full-frame image. Depth of field was shallow even at f/14. I decided to image stack it with 8 frames to give me the crispness throughout.

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