It is early morning. The forest is calm and tranquil. The musky scent of pine and redwood fills the air. We are the only ones there. It is peaceful and serene. The giant redwoods surround us. We are in awe as we soak in the grandeur of these commanding, ancient trees. The panorama is ever changing as we leisurely explore the old-grove trails. Here and there a colorful Varied Thrush or the diminutive Pacific Wren would flutter among the fallen tree trunks and forest floor grubbing for their favorite morsels. We are fully immersed in the ambiance of nature's majesty.
So it was for our photo trip to California's old-grove redwood forests. The scattered old-groves, along northern California's Highway 101, are consolidated into the Redwood National and State Parks system. We started this journey in Crescent City, some eight hundred miles, and fourteen hours, north of San Diego. We called Crescent City home for four days and then leisurely meandered to Garberville for two more days of exploring and photographing the redwoods. The trip was timed to coincide with the spring bloom of wild rhododendron in the redwood groves.
Our timing was excellent and we first sighted the colorful "rhodies" along Highway 101 in the Del Norte Redwoods State Park some fifteen miles south of Crescent City. Although we attempted to photograph the rhodies there, shooting alongside busy Highway 101 was extremely distracting. Our most satisfying rhododendron photography occurred along the much less traveled, dirt track to the Stout Grove in Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park. Here we found numerous opportunities to photograph rhodies and made several early morning jaunts there during our stay in Crescent City.
You can see the results of our efforts in the Redwoods Gallery and why we love nature photography.