Heading for home after attending a workshop in Tofino, B.C. I stopped at Cathedral Grove to see what images I might capture. It was the spring of 2011.
Cathedral Grove was established to protect a grove of ancient Douglas Fir and Western Red Cedars from loggers’ axes. Some of these giants of the forest are more that 900 years old. It is truly a magnificent place. I hoped to make an image that would really capture the majesty and feeling that I experience here.
I captured a variety of images but in the end concluded that a panoramic image made the most sense. After determining my composition I took 5 images with about 20 percent of overlap. My camera was aligned in vertically. I used a 50 mm lens with my camera in manual mode. I used an off camera flash to provide a small measure of fill light to the foreground.
I was really pleased with the resulting panorama. The 5 images stitched together well. The composition was good. The image overall, I thought, captured the majesty of this ancient forest. As a large print on canvas it looked pretty good. But for some reason I just did not ‘pop’. It was flat!
Every now and then I would open ‘Cathedral Grove’ to see if my opinion had changed. No, it still was missing something that I just could not put my finger on. Recently however, when I opened the image I had several ideas of what was needed to make the necessary improvements.
Three years after making the original images I had a much better knowledge of what Lightroom and Photoshop could do. I understood much more about adjustment layers and brushes. Fortunately, my images were recorded in ‘Raw’. The histogram indicated that my exposure was good. I had most of the data the camera recorded to work with. I started to experiment.
The resulting image was quite remarkable. A great deal of patience was necessary but this time I knew what I wanted. On completion, I had an image that for me truly reflected the color, feeling and size of this magnificent eco system.