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:
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.
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.
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.
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!