A Bay Area Primordial Forest

January 09, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

Primordial ForestTomales Bay State Park, CA October 2013, 6x17 Velvia 50

 

In the Bay Area we have a Mediterranean climate which means it rains a great deal but only for a few months in the winter. The rest of the year, the forests and hills slowly dry up into golden and browns hues. Fortunately, for someone like me who grew up in England, there are a few places that stay moist and damp year round. One of these is Tomales Bay State Park, part of the wider Point Reyes area. Its quite different from the rest of the Pt. Reyes peninsular of wide open pastures. Instead, there are dark forested hills deep in shade and often smothered by marine fog.

As you can see from the image above, this is land of ferns and moss covered tree limbs, primordial in nature. But its very difficult to photograph due to the wide exposure range. In fact, I think the only way to have success here is on an overcast day with flat light. I am still waiting to take my definitive image from this location. Using Velvia 50 slide film probably is not helping my cause due to the films well know limited exposure range but I do so love the rich colors that tI can capture this way. In the months ahead I hope to get out there again in a variety of conditions with a variety of film types. I believe part of what make a good photographer is persistence - going back to the same places and trying to get just the right light and composition, learning from all your previous attempts. Fortunately, few places present such a challenge as this one or I think I might go quite mad.

For those of you who are interested in the technical aspects of my images, this picture was taken with a Shen Hao PTB 617 medium format view camera. I used a Schneider Super-Symmar XL 110mm lens set to f16 with Fuji Velvia 50 film.

 


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