P248H – Hoh Rainforest, Olympic National Park, WA

A photographer friend of mine in Canada came along with me to the Washington coast early one spring. My plan was to capture the moss covered deciduous trees with fresh new growth. I had no idea exactly what to expect, but I certainly didn’t expect the new growth to be this fluorescent like, lime green color. Wherever you looked trees were exploding in new growth, and even in the darkest areas of the forest, it felt like beacons were lighting the forest from behind. The weather was almost entirely overcast with periods of light rain. In other words, it was perfect for photographing the deep forest. Typically you are not including any sky, or at most limited sky, when photographing in the forest. Ferns were proudly displaying their new fronds and tree moss was brilliant green from the steady rain.

One of my planned visits was to spend a few days within the Hoh Rainforest. Being early May, there was no one at the main gate and only a few people in the park. The Hoh Rainforest is a section of the Olympic National Park Service so I suppose the entrance is always open regardless if there is a guard at the gate or not. The trails were deserted so I felt like I had the entire park to myself.

Although I’ve had a lot of experience capturing forest photographs, I found it difficult trying to find balanced compositions. You have to remember that I’m trying to compose an image that covers an angle of view of 115 degrees wide, about 2.5 times as wide as a standard camera containing a standard lens. Getting the right composition is critical. It’s all about how the image flows and where your eyes travel when you view it. I particularly liked this imaged because of the placement of the trees and the large ferns. The fallen tree in the background also gives the photograph some depth, almost 3-D (particularly when printed large). Then the carpet of moss and clover give the image the final balance. Your eye is constantly in motion, finding new objects and subtle details.

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