California Redwoods

Redwood National Park

Near Orick, California

 

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My first trip to San Francisco was last fall when my wife had to attend a conference. We had been to the LA area a few times, but we had never been north of Santa Barbara. She did not want to fly to the west coast by herself, so I went along. When we got into town late in the afternoon the first thing we did was drive across the Golden Gate Bridge. It was like we were in another reality; we had seen the Golden Gate in so many movies that it was just unreal to really be there. Weird, very weird. We were pretty tired the first night, but I woke up the next morning at 2:00 am just totally wired. I usually get up around 5, so I guess it was normal. But there was no way I could go back to sleep. So, since she had to go to the conference all day I decided to take a little drive north... to Crescent City just south of Oregon. I think I drove 7-800 miles that day, but what a cool trip. The scenery and ruggedness of Northern California was evident. Foggy mountains, huge trees, Bigfoot shops along the 101 through the redwoods, tree trunks with doors on them that people hollowed out the trunks for rooms, the rocky coastline etc etc. I ran into the Roosevelt Elk herds, the largest of the four subspecies of elk surviving in North America (I did not know that until this trip), and I took a walk through in the Redwoods National Park around Lady Bird Johnson Grove. I was truly amazed. The largest coastal redwood measured a few years ago was around 370 feet tall. They were so tall that on some of them I could not see their tops as they just stretched into the fog and disappeared. I also learned that a redwood just 150 feet tall needs over 1300 pounds of water per day. If there are any Star Wars fans here, the forest scenes with the Ewoks in Return of the Jedi were shot amongst the redwoods. Filming crews spent two weeks in the area shooting the scenes depicting the Moon of Endor. Anyway, I took the shot above from inside a tree that had burned out but was still very much alive. I used my Canon 5d Mark II with my 17-40 lens at 19mm and f/5.6 by pointing it nearly straight up. I did use my external flash, something I rarely do. But it was so dark inside the tree that I needed some fill light. I dialed down the flash at least a stop so it was not so bright in an effort to keep it looking natural.

 

Also, if you want to read a short article with some facts on redwoods and their height, here is a pretty cool link...

 

www.sfgate.com/science/article/REDWOODS-How-tall-can-they...

 

This is also an interesting read on the forest filming locations for Return of the Jedi...

 

www.mdvaden.com/redwood_star_wars.shtml

 

and...

 

theswca.com/index.php?action=disp_item&item_id=62223

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Taken on November 16, 2011
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