At the last moment in late September early October I decided I wanted to hit the road to collect some new images.
So I headed off to some place I haven’t been in over 10 years. The coasts of extreme Northern California and Southern Oregon. I really love this area and can’t believe it’s been so long since I was last there, in fact it was just as I was launching my pro career.
I started out the journey after stopping to visit a friend near Sacramento in the Redwood Forests of Northern California, specifically Humboldt Redwoods State Park and then Redwoods National Park a little further north. I’ve seen the Sequoia of the Yosemite area but have not seen the Coast Redwoods since I was to Muir Woods…ages ago. While the Sequoia may be larger in total size, the Coastal Redwoods are Taller and Humboldt claims the tallest and oldest, some 370′ tall and 2,000 years old!
I traveled along the Avenue of the Giants, a 31 mile stretch that parallels the 101, stopping at groves that the wonderful woman at the visitor’s center guided me to. It was really a perfect day – Overcast and a light rain – while that may not sound perfect for the redwoods which provide a deep mysterious shade to the trails. The low light, fog and misty rain made it…perfect. This is a place to go and just be. It was the end of the season so there weren’t many other people to see.
I stopped and had to drive through the one of the few Drive through Redwoods left, the Chandelier Tree…silly but it was fun and reminded me of the roadtrips people would take in the 50’s and 60’s
My night was spent in Eureka….never, spend a night in Eureka. But I woke up early and headed up the coast stopping along the way at the coastal overlooks in Trinidad and then up to Redwood National Park and the Lady Bird Johnson Grove. It had by this point turned sunny but that was good to give me a different feel as I hiked around this grove. Believe me it’s still plenty dark in there and glad I had my tripod.
After the Ladybird grove I crossed the 101 and went to the Fern Canyon in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park. It’s a nice 1.1 mile loop trail that I ended up doing twice. In the Canyon you hike up the creek and they were removing the wooden bridges for the season so I was glad I had changed into my waterproof boots beforehand. I hiked it twice because at the halfway point you climb up out of the canyon…and I didn’t realize the good part of the walk would be over so soon so as I finished the loop I walked back up the creek. It was so surreal and beautiful to hike there.
I finished my day stopping in Crescent City to see the famous Battery Point Lighthouse and then set off meandering and stopping along the coast before I crossed into Oregon and my home for the next 3 days, Gold Beach Oregon. I got checked in and had just enough time to head back south a bit to shoot the sunset even if I had no idea where to go.
The next morning I stopped at the Cape Blanco Light in Port Orford. I had been there in 2005 but it was pouring rain so I was able to get some images with nice skies this time. Then I headed up the coast to Bandon. One of the most scenic beach in southern Oregon with huge Rock Outcroppings along a beautiful flat beach. I was supposed to go and meet a friend there the following day, but I cancelled that because I really needed to concentrate on getting images this trip and unfortunately didn’t have time for socializing. This actually worked out better since the weather was perfect for this evening and would not have been the next. I got some images that I really really like. It was a great evening followed up by a FANTASTIC dinner at Edgewatrers right on the inlet with the best waitress ever, Katie.
On my last day I went south again to Pistol River State Beach. This was where I got my first official Portfolio Shot in 2005, The Starfish (Ground-up View). It was great to be back and see that it had not changed a bit. At this spot I had started a art series I called “Beach Bones” , Black and White images of beach “Art”ifacts, Driftwood, shells and other aquatic life along the gray sandy beach. I got a ton of new images that I have put in a separate portfolio at my site. I’ll probably post then in a separate post…or you could just go look at my store. I spent a lot of time walking around there, I only saw one other person and her dog the whole time…perfect
I had lunch and then spent the rest of the day stopping at every viewpoint between Brookings and Gold Beach. Seeing if any where better than others and some were. It was getting close to sunset so I pulled over and just rested for a while at an overlook because I was getting tired by this point. As the sun was getting close to set, I was not too excited because irt was n absolute clear blue sky evening. Nice for being there but not so good photographically. But I went up to the next overlook, which was a place I had stopped at earlier in the day in Middle Pistol River. There are some big outcroppings there so I just stood there watching the sun get lower when I noticed that there was a Keyhole opening in one of the big rocks and the sun started to pour through it. So though I had no intention of shooting I hurriedly grabbed my gear and headed down to the beach which was NO easy task at this overlook. I got down there and the sea was really rough but the sun coming through that keyhole was excellent. But I have to say the shots were sooo difficult to get because the dynamic range was about as difficult as it gets. Sun to the back side of backlit rocks. But I figured out and tried a few things and moved from here to there trying different compositions. Then as the sun was geting close to the horizon an unexpected thing happened. The sun now perfectly aligned with that keyhole and produced a perfect sunstar. But I had just minutes to get it in camera. I know this happens at different other rocks and piers along the coast (Scripps Pier, Pfeiffer Beach Rock Arch etc) and for some of them it only aligns perfect one or two days a year. I don’t know if this was the case for this beach but I couldn’t find other examples in a G Search. It was a beautiful end to a trip.
I then was thinking about places to stop on the way home. Sequoia National Park? Big Sur? Point Reyes? But after looking at the costs of more hotels. I decided I was done and when I am done, I am done and I started what should have been a direct 14 Hour 930 Mile trip, Which ended up being 18 hours!! Thank you SF and LA
Great, great trip. One of my favorites, though Moab was also awesome this year. Wish I could do more each year, but such is living on Photographer pay
Here are a bunch of shots of the trip..I have MANY more. I’ve also included links on some of the images if you wish to purchase prints
I’ll start with the video of the Drive Thru redwood, The Chandelier Tree in Leggett California
Humboldt Redwoods State Park
Redwoods National Park
Battery Point Light
False Klamath Cove California
Thanks for Roadtrippin with me