Join Mikkel Aaland for an in-depth discussion in this video Driving through the redwoods, part of Travel Photography: Seaside Road Trip.
Standing here around all of these redwood trees, it's a really powerful feeling, it's hard to photograph. You know, the lights really contrasty, it's very harsh. It's a lot of differentiation between shadows and light, and that's really hard for the sensor to pick up the wide spectrum of tonality, and there's not that much subtlety here. So that's why I was a little intimidated at first shooting, I but I found an angle, I blocked the sun with one of the trees so that the trees were more backlit.
Now I did try a little bit of a different technique to, just to spice up the photograph a bit. I'm not sure, I'll see which one I like better later when I look at it in the computer but what I did is it's a fairly simple technique. I put the camera to shutter preferred, and then I chose a, at 1/15th of a second, 1/8th of a second, shutter speed. While I was firing the camera, I slightly zoomed the lens, and you'll see it gives it a kind of a, almost a burst of light effect.
It blurs it, but not the whole image, there's parts of it that are still pretty solid. Sometimes that effect works, and sometimes it doesn't. when it does work, it really can make a static photograph come alive, it's a really cool technique. Now after doing that, and I walked over towards the, the stream here, and my buddy Jim was just standing there, almost in a contemplative way. And I just photographed him again with a slight upward angle of the camera because I want to emphasize the, the majesty of these railroad trees and made Jim, already looking pretty small, even smaller.
And I think I'm, I'm happy with that shot, I think that's going to be a really. That, that picture may be my favorite picture here. I don't know, let, I'll look at it later. And then finally, I was just walking over by the stream, knowing that we really have to get on the road, because we have a lot to do today. But I saw the light hitting one of these horsetail plants, and I thought, you know, that could be an interesting shot. First, I tried to get it from above, and then I held the camera down, and I tried to get it from, just by hand, holding the camera.
Without looking through the view finder and I finally said the heck with it and I got down on the ground and started shooting it seriously. I just love the way the light was playing on it. I just wasn't satisfied though every, every shot I got I just it wasn't working. (LAUGH) enjoyed just being on the ground with the plants and the light. And it was almost like okay, you don't always have to get the shot, sometimes just the process of taking the shot can be really enjoyable. And that's an example where the process was really fun even though I don't think I got a good shot.
Alright, we've got to get going, let's hit the road.
In this course, photographer Mikkel Aaland travels to Mendocino, a classic seaside small town in Northern California, making stops in Mendocino's Anderson Valley and redwood forests along the way. The course details the gear and shooting strategies involved in capturing the personality of a small town and, just as important, its natural setting and the people who live there. Throughout the course, Mikkel emphasizes the importance of putting your own creative stamp on your travel photos through the use of simple props, friends, or family members.
- Shooting along the way, from farm stands to redwoods
- Engaging with—and photographing—the locals
- Going beyond the postcard shot to personalize your photos
- Stopping at a bed and breakfast
- Shooting dunes, waves, and beaches
- Reviewing the photos from the road trip