Deep Forest Cedars
Montana

Deep Forest Cedars

24×20 prints are $1,250
40×30 prints are $2,500

Ruth and I went on a limited photo trip in 2004, traveling only as east as Colorado. This image was made in Montana at Ross Ancient Cedars State Park. I had never been there but read that they had huge cedar trees and it was worth a look.

There’s a one mile long boardwalk loop that goes through the cedar grove, so I put my 8×10 camera outfit on a folding hand truck that we carry with us on our trips. Ruth took a nap in the van while I toodled along the path. There was no wind and the light was soft and rather dim in the deep forest. It was very lovely but I didn’t find anything to photograph until I was almost at the end of the one mile trail.

I saw these tree trees, with the light coming from behind the tree on the right and illuminating the beautiful texture and pastel colors of the tree on the left. I took one photograph with my 300mm lens at f/64 with an exposure of 40 seconds on Fujichrome 100 film.

The transparency is rather dark and has a strong greenish color cast from the green light in the forest. One of the great things about direct positive “analog” printing is that you can remove an overall color cast in the film by adjusting the color balance of the enlarger. Everything opens up in a natural way, something that is impossible to do digitally.

The transparency sat in a box in my darkroom for 15 years until I printed it in 2019. Making a Cibachrome print of this image requires a lot of finesse in getting the color balance exactly right. Fortunately my Durst 2501 enlarger has color adjustments in 0.1CC increments.

When everything is set correctly, there’s a remarkable glow to the light area of the tree on the left and an amazing interplay of warm and cool colors in the bark of the tree on the right. To me the image has a feeling of great strength with an element of mystery and wonder.

Format: Large (vertical)
Location: Montana
Reference key: dfc