Posted by: kerryl29 | September 26, 2017

California Day 11: From Grove to Grove

The first order of business on Day 11 was to revisit the Founders Grove at Humboldt Redwoods State Park.  I made the short drive before dawn and could see evidence of fog.  That was positive, as it meant there would be even light in the forest, at least until the sun burned off the mist.  As had been the case on Day 10, there was some wind present when I arrived at the Founders Grove, but it was lighter than it had been the evening before.  (Still, I couldn’t help but conclude that this was apparently and inherently breezy spot as there seemed to be essentially no wind elsewhere in the forest.)  So I pulled out my gear and began to look around.  Shutter speeds were still a bit of an issue given how dark it was but this problem slowly took care of itself as it became brighter.

Founders Grove, Humboldt Redwoods State Park, California

There are a lot of similarities between the Founders and Rockefeller Groves–not a big surprise given how close they are to one another (well under a mile as the crow flies).  Each has a loop trail of 1/2 to 2/3 of a mile winding through it, with little elevation change.  Both of the groves are thick with huge, mature redwood trunks.

Founders Grove, Humboldt Redwoods State Park, California

I had taken a tour of the Founders Grove Loop trail the evening before so I had a pretty good sense of which scenes I wanted to photograph.  Unlike the previous evening, however, the light was soft and entirely even given the layer of fog (which was high enough to be essentially invisible at ground level).

Founders Grove, Humboldt Redwoods State Park, California

Founders Grove, Humboldt Redwoods State Park, California

Much like the Rockefeller Grove, while the forest floor was rich with greenery the volume of growth was considerably thinner than I’d seen during my visit to the coastal groves to the north, in Del Norte County, two years earlier.

Founders Grove, Humboldt Redwoods State Park, California

Founders Grove, Humboldt Redwoods State Park, California

At points along the trail I came upon some enormous fallen redwoods, which had metamorphosed into nurse logs for the grove, critical to its health and proliferation.

Founders Grove, Humboldt Redwoods State Park, California

Founders Grove, Humboldt Redwoods State Park, California

Redwood Stump Abstract, Founders Grove Black & White, Humboldt Redwoods State Park, California

As had been the case in the Rockefeller Grove, I ran across one area that was particularly thick with ferns.

Founders Grove, Humboldt Redwoods State Park, California

Founders Grove, Humboldt Redwoods State Park, California

The trail itself often served as a visual anchor, replete with leading lines.

Founders Grove, Humboldt Redwoods State Park, California

Founders Grove, Humboldt Redwoods State Park, California

Founders Grove, Humboldt Redwoods State Park, California

A hollowed out redwood skeleton near the end (and beginning) of the loop was the final scene of interest.

Founders Grove, Humboldt Redwoods State Park, California

Founders Grove Black & White, Humboldt Redwoods State Park, California

After wrapping at the Founders Grove, and with the mist holding, I made the very short trip to the Rockefeller Grove, stopping briefly on Bull Creek Road along the way.

Bull Creek Road, Humboldt Redwoods State Park, California

Back in the Rockefeller Grove, I hastened to photograph a few scenes near the beginning of the loop (heading counter clockwise) while the even light still prevailed.  I had been unable to shoot many of these scenes on the previous day due to hot spots–a function of the clear sky.

Rockefeller Loop Trail, Rockefeller Grove, Humboldt Redwoods State Park, California

Rockefeller Loop Trail, Rockefeller Grove, Humboldt Redwoods State Park, California

Rockefeller Grove, Humboldt Redwoods State Park, California

Rockefeller Grove, Humboldt Redwoods State Park, California

Forest Floor, Rockefeller Grove, Humboldt Redwoods State Park, California

Founders Grove, Humboldt Redwoods State Park, California

Founders Grove, Humboldt Redwoods State Park, California

Just as I was wrapping up I noticed the impact of sunlight in the grove.  The mist was burning off quickly.  Fortunately, I had already photographed all the scenes that I’d missed out on the previous evening.

Having completed my work, I resumed the journey north, toward Crescent City where I’d spend the final three nights of the photography portion of the trip.  It was only another two-plus hours north, but I stopped on several occasions along the way, first at Little River State Beach, just north of Aracta on US-101 where, from the highway, I noticed a plethora of wildflowers.  It was cloudy–perfect, even light–and just about dead calm.  I pulled out my macro lens and went to work.

Yellow Bush Lupine, Little River State Beach, California

Foxglove, Little River State Beach, California

Yellow Bush Lupine, Little River State Beach, California

Broadleaf Lupine, Little River State Beach, California

Varied Lupine, Little River State Beach, California

Wildflowers, Little River State Beach, California

Beach Grass Isolate, Little River State Beach, California

Beach Grass Trio Black & White, Little River State Beach, California

My next stop was a bit further up the road at Humboldt Lagoons State Park.  After stopping at the lagoon overlook to start…

Lagoon, Humboldt Lagoons State Park, California

…I subsequently moved along to the beach.  The light was pretty harsh–the “clouds” (marine layer fog, more accurately) down the road at Little River State Beach were absent at Humboldt Lagoons–at this point so I immediately thought “black and white” as I wandered about in search of compositions.  The cirrus clouds in the sky were a major part of the appeal.

Beach Black & White, Humboldt Lagoons State Park, California

I found a driftwood abstract that I really liked and, for the second time on the day, took possession of the macro lens.  I also dug out the white umbrella I often use as a diffuser and created my own soft light.

Driftwood Abstract Black & White, Humboldt Lagoons State Park, California

I then continued north until I reached the southernmost of the group of coastal redwoods state and national parks–Redwood National Park.  I’d photographed in the Lady Bird Johnson Grove during my previous visit to the area, two years earlier.  At the time it had been too early for any rhododendron blooms, but on this occasion, to my delight I saw quite a few.  It was sunny in the grove, so I didn’t photograph there.

I then moved on to Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, to the aptly named Rhododendron Trail, which I hiked for a couple of miles.  There were some blooms–and countless buds–but fewer than in the Lady Bird Grove.  Again, the sunny conditions prevented my pulling out the camera during my scout.

Two years earlier, the Damnation Creek Trail at Del Norte Redwoods State Park, just south of Crescent City itself, had been the furthest along in terms of rhododendron.  I hoped that was the case again.  It was.  The Damnation Creek area was just about at peak when I visited.  Whereas two years previous I strained to find one or two spots with a decent number of blooms, this time they were everywhere.  Since a major part of the reason for my taking the considerable trouble of returning to the coastal redwood groves had been to catch the rhododendron bloom, I was extremely excited.  A significant breeze kept me from doing any photographing when I visited the grove in the early evening, but since I had another 2 1/2 days to spend in the area, I wasn’t bothered.  I’d be back, and the bloom would only get better.

Now, if I could just experience some of that famous coastal fog everything would be perfect…


Responses

  1. Very nice, Kerry. I must visit the redwoods! Thx.

    • Thanks, Mike. If you get the chance to see the redwoods I’m sure you won’t regret it.

  2. I could be very happy walking through there.

    • If the conditions are right, a walk through a redwood grove can be something akin to a spiritual experience.

  3. Oh, and forgot to say, some fantastic shots too.

    • Thanks very much!

  4. Your photos capture the mood and beauty of the redwood forests. That being said, the black and white abstract images are my favorites in this set.

    • Thanks, Ellen!

  5. Enjoyed following your photographic journey to the majestic Humboldt Redwoods…. Now I have to go there.

    • Thanks! I hope you get the chance to visit the redwoods in the very near future.

  6. Impressive trees and very flattering angles! I like the way the color contrast came out in these pictures.

  7. […] full day in the Crescent City area.  I had done some scouting of the various redwood groves on Day 11 and found that the best rhododendron blooms were to be found along the Damnation Creek Trail in Del […]

  8. Is there a redwood tree that you can drive a car through?

    • There are three that I’m aware of, all of them are private tourist attractions that require a fee to access. I have no direct experience with any of them.

      There’s some information about them at the following link (scroll down to the heading entitled “Where is the drive-through tree?”:

      https://www.nps.gov/redw/faqs.htm


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