Cloudy Days Assignment Winner Colleen Miniuk-Sperry

Rhodies & Redwoods by Colleen Miniuk-Sperry
Rhodies & Redwoods by Colleen Miniuk-Sperry

Congratulations to Colleen Miniuk-Sperry for winning the Cloudy Days Assignment.

"In mid-May 2009, my husband Craig and I ventured from our Arizona home to see the Redwood National Park for the first time, with the hope of seeing this magnificent forest showing off fresh pink rhododendrons beneath the massive canopy. Upon arrival, we wandered around the park under clear, bright, sunny skies, which enabled endless and exciting explorations, but harsh, contrasty lighting conditions for photographing the beauty in front of our eyes. I had hoped for overcast skies or fog to bring out the vibrant pink color of the flowers but Mother Nature had other plans for our four day stay.

"On the fifth day, our travel plans took us north to Gold Beach, Oregon, but I secretly hoped I would have one last chance to see diffused light in this spectacular park on our return trip home to Arizona.

"As luck would have it, on May 23, as we drove back through Del Norte State Park en route to Arizona, thick fog curled around the giant redwoods and dainty "rhodies."  From our previous visit, I knew exactly which flowering plant and redwoods I wanted to capture. Overjoyed, I quickly jumped out of our car with my tripod, camera, 24mm lens, and lens cloth in hand. To emphasize the dramatic height of the trees, I pointed my camera towards to sky, getting almost underneath the rhodies 15 feet overhead.

"I specifically wanted to show the juxtaposition between the towering trees and the large but delicate flowers, so I intentionally broke the "Rule of Thirds," and gave them equal amount of real estate within the frame and leveraged the converging lines down center of image to pull the viewer into the picture.

"When I arrived home (under a completely blue sky!), I completed basic post-processing with Curves to reduce the brightness in the fog at the top of the frame and enhance contrast in the rhodies and redwoods to draw attention to them."

Equipment: Canon EOS 5D, Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM lens, cable release, Manfrotto tripod and grip action ball head.

You can see more of Colleen Miniuk-Sperry's photography at her website:


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