I’m visiting the ranch of Charlie & Lark’s in Mendocino County. Charlie is a fellow photographer and so we wander off into the wilderness shooting like a couple of bandits with our matching SONY RX-100 compact cameras. (Many of the photos in this posting can be seen in high resolution on my Flickr account.)
Sometimes we turn the camera on each other.
Sometimes I shoot him when he isn’t looking.
On Friday we unleashed ourselves in Montgomery Woods, a spectacular redwood preserve half way between Ukiah and the coast in Mendocino County where some of the trees are nearly 400 feet high.
Off we go into the woods. It feels like entering a cathedral, quiet, massive and somehow comforting in its overwhelming majesty.
These days, everybody is a photographer and a forest like this has been photographed a million times. So what can we do that is unusual?
The natural inclination in a redwood forest is to look up. To capture the height, and of course the gorgeous green in dappled sunlight.
Call me a rebel, but I’m going to shoot black and white and look down. But not just B&W, high contrast B&W.
The high contrast blows out the whites and gives it the appearance of snow. I like it. But as I’m wandering around as slow as a banana slug, I notice that the redwood sorrel is gorgeous with their three little heart-shaped leaves.
I become obsessed with the floor of the redwoods trying to capture the beauty of this oxalis plant. Here is what it looks like in color for ye chromatic starved.
And here is what it looks like up close in monochrome. Which do YOU like better?
Then there are the exposed roots of the trees…
like snakes from the underworld surfacing to grab you around the ankles…
The ferns catch my eye and I work with the darkness of the forest floor as “negative space” making shadows disappear into black to achieve an Andy Goldsworthy effect…
Fern leaves shot in high contrast give the appearance of cast iron…
After hours of this visual indulgence on the forest floor, we spot something unusual on the way out! A rare albino redwood. It has no chlorophyl and so it cannot generate its own nutrients therefore becomes a parasite on an existing redwood tree. There are apparently only 60 of them in the world and the locations of them are not publicized to protect this rare variety. So cast your eyes on a botanical oddity the likes of which you may never see anywhere in person…
But I know where it is. Ha ha!