Redwoods: the Big Picture

SectionaltreeThese days, with digitized photography and photo editing, we may not think a whole lot about the process of making pictures, at least those of us with casual camera hobbies. One of the downsides of accessible technology is a kind of normalization of process. I know, since owning a digital SLR that can store hundreds of pictures in a single session, I think a lot less about process and “getting it right” since I have so much wiggle room for experimentation. I just click and click and worry about editing later.

But let me assure you, there is plenty to be impressed when discussing Michael Nichols, the man who just recently photographed what may be the biggest, tallest tree on record. Redwoods, some of which date before the first century, are marvels of nature, the largest, most ancient trees on earth. And photographing them is no easy feat. From the NPR article:

In a recent lecture at National Geographic in Washington, D.C., Nichols described his frustrations. Eventually, though, he devised a way to do redwoods justice. It involved three cameras, a team of scientists, a robotic dolly, a gyroscope, an 83-photo composite and a lot of patience.

I would love to see that setup.

And while the picture itself is quite remarkable, in addition,  the National Geographic site has put together a fantastic interactive redwoods page where you can track Nichols’s team across the California coast. The redwood timeline is especially inspired.

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