Nothing gets my creative juices flowing like a photo trip. While there are plenty of photo opportunities in southern Arizona, I find that I am more inspired to take photos while traveling. In fact, photography is the main purpose for most of my trips. I was raised in a family that traveled. However, my trips as an adult are a bit different than the trips I experienced as a child.
Growing up, our two week summer road trip had one purpose: to cover as much ground as possible. If we stayed more than one night in any given location it was a minor miracle. The American west is huge and darned if my parents weren’t determined to see every inch of it. This is a fine way to travel if you want snapshots for the family album (or slideshow in our case). If you want to produce artistic photos, on the other hand, this is not so great.
On my last trip I did something my late parents would find unthinkable: I stayed all four nights in the same hotel. My base was Crescent City, California, near the Oregon border. A main photographic goal was the coastal redwood forests that surround the city. Since I was unfamiliar with the area, I knew I would need time to seek out different photo ops. This allowed me to fully explore the area, photographing the setting sun over the ocean, twilight at a lighthouse, elk on the beach and of course the magnificent redwood trees. The redwood sections I visited the first couple days were scenic but did not yield the magic I was hoping for. Success came on my last full day. An early morning walk on a new trail revealed numerous photo ops, including this one. I was so enamored with the scene that I returned just before sunset, when I captured the photograph shown here. Although other shots have redwood trees as the main subject, I like this one where they form a background to the main subject: a vine maple tree.
I already have this photo framed in my loft as a 16×20. If I had swept through Crescent City in a day I would have missed it. There is an additional benefit to staying in one location. I was able to photograph the ideal light of sunrise and sunset and then relax in my room midday. If you are the type who hops from hotel to hotel (or campground to campground), you may be missing the best photo opportunities. Find a good home base and discover the many photo opportunities that lie nearby.