Redwoods, Rhododendron and Light

I was particularly pleased with how this one came out. I’ve been photographing these woods and walking under this twisted rhododendron for years and never experienced the light conditions or presence of mind to compose it this way before. This time it just sort of fell together. To get this close perspective my tripod had to be extended to full height placing my camera seven feet off the ground. The sun happened to be in the right place and the thickness of the fog was ideal.

Technical Details

In addition to getting the camera in position, the dynamic range was a challenge, looking directly into the sun from deep in the shadows of the redwoods as I was. In the end, I blended three exposures with masking and raw smart object adjustments to get everything to merge smoothly. Luckily there was almost no wind so sharpness and alignment were not an issue. Settings were 16mm, f/18, ISO 100 and the three exposures were 0.6, 1/6, and 1/30 seconds.


I think being familiar with how an environment looks and responds to changing conditions is key to this kind of image. You could try for this a bunch of times and fail, but each time teaches you more about what you need to be successful at finding the confluence you need. Super look into canopy all the way through.

I knew this was going to be a Bagshaw image before I clicked on the thumbnail. A beautiful composition and management of exquisite light. Leaves me with a feeling of standing in redwoods next to you.

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Beautiful composition and processing! I could stare at this one for hours.

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Sensational image Sean. I could look at it all day.

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Dang, that’s good Sean. So enjoyable.

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Sean, I think I know this Rhododendron. Even if it’s not the same one, this is stellar. That bottom branch/trunk is just dripping with backlighting and the glow it’s producing is something special. Great conditions with some fog and enough sunlight to get that burst. This image just says Redwoods all over it. As always, super great job on the blending. OK. I’m just going to sit and stare at this one for a while.

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Many thanks David. It definitely is prominent, so I bet you do know it.