Winter Redwoods

Location: Humboldt County, CA - Prairie Creek Redwoods and Avenue of the Giants

Here we are in the freezing Redwoods of the Northernmost coastal areas of California. A place that looks like time was forgotten and Giants remain. Indeed, these trees have been on Earth for around 240 million years.

My personal (probably incorrect) theory is that this was once a part of Pangea hundreds of millions of years ago and most of it broke apart and collapsed into the ocean on part of the Juan De Fuca Plate leaving a tiny portion that remains on the coast of the North American tectonic plate. 

It's fun to think of Dinosaurs once roaming between these trees, but it's another thing to draw them doing it frame by frame in 34 degree weather with a Night-Writer (+ yellow-tip) in the dark.

I sketched this animation frame by frame (below) to make sure the movement was accurate, a triceratops light-fossil is a complicated character, here it is simplified:

sketchy at best

The first thing you have to know about this area is that it's fairly remote and a bit difficult to get to (especially if coming from Los Angeles like us!), be prepared for many hours of windy roads on the 101 past San Francisco, CA.

During this time of year it typically gets cold at night and can be rainy, watch out for black ice on the curvy roads deep in the forest, we tried not to drive on these roads too late into the night.

Our stops along the way up were: Santa Rosa, Willits, Trinidad, Klamath, then we came down the coast visiting Fort Bragg, Tomales Bay, and lastly Big Sur.

 Most light-painting sessions occurred just after sunset and until 9pm, after that it got a bit frosty.

ice cold

Welcome to Winter!

I drew a 'Lost Rudolph' with his nose so bright on an old bridge off the 101 in an area called 'Lost Man Creek'. I like how he looks a little confused here.. This area was pitch black at night, a bit spooky also.

Looks like we've got a hairy situation on our hands here, 'Bigfoot'!

For this image (above) I experimented with a new homemade Night-Writer tip made of cut, sanded, and glued plastic pieces.

I like the texture it added to my bigfoot:

I can't stress the importance enough of scouting a location first before it becomes too dark in the forest.

At night it's difficult to see anything more than 20 feet ahead of you. For the image below I was reaching around in the dark a bit.

Here are some of my 'light-skeletons' hanging around this fallen giant in the night, we'll call them the 'Forest Spirits'.

Looking further into the forest, I had an idea to topographically map the depth of the trees with a high-powered laser, the result is almost exactly as I envisioned, pretty wild!

Here is what 'Laser Vision' looks like.

That will sum up our adventure for now, here's a smiley face for you - Happy Holidays! 

Click Here for more articles about The Redwoods.

smiley

Mystery Moss

Location: Redwoods, CA | F2.8, ISO 3200, 1/250 second

Let's take a little break from light-painting stuff, it's time to focus on something equally awesome - Moss.

Did you know that certain types of moss (Sphagnum genus) were used in World War I as bandages for wounds? Aside from being readily available, it's because they are super absorbent - moss can carry more than 3 times the amount of liquid that cotton does. Another type of peat moss is used for smoking malt used for the production of Scotch Whiskey, I'll drink to that.

Let's take a closer look:

moss1

Moss can't carry water like most other plants, it depends on water vapor from cool damp environments like the redwood forest. Here it is doing what it does best, soaking up moisture.

Moss has around 12,000 different species, you can find many different varieties in the redwoods - infinitely fascinating!

I'm not sure if this one below is actually moss, it could be a hornwort or perhaps a liverwort. These plants reproduce via spores.

Here's another thing about moss that you may not know (and a little unsettling, considering that people used it as a bandage). It's one of the easiest locations to find tardigrades (or water-bears) - take a piece of moss and dry it out, then add water and search for creatures with an electron microscope (easier said than done). Tardigrades are very strange organisms that can be found just about anywhere, from the arctic, to deep sea, forests, deserts, etc. they are also the first known animal to survive the vacuum of space, we have a lot to learn from these alien-like creatures:

tardigrade

Check out more interesting environments in my Nature Gallery:

Rainbow Reindeer

Location: Redwoods National Park, CA | Settings: (composite) Light art at F5.6 / ISO 50 / 330 seconds. Environment at F3.5 / ISO 1600 / 46 seconds.

Print Options

Here's a luminous Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer in the Redwoods of Northern California - lighting the way.. Or is he lost again? Time will tell! 

Happy Holidays!

For the full collection of Light-Animals, check out the Gallery below: