A continued collaboration by David Katz and Colin Crilley


Our last week at Whitakers we spent climbing into the crown of Giant Sequoia to collect seed cones. While we were up in the canopy we marked limbs and tagged individual bunches of first year cones. After photographing these bunches we made some short videos to help us remember exactly where the bunches are. Next year we plan on coming back and examining the "second year cone". To our knowledge there is very little information available on how the seed cone matures in the tree. 

To start this update off, a few images from around the area. Colin and I have been experimenting with a new-to-us-technique of combining exposures to create a a type of image called High Dynamic Range or HDR for short. Below are some of those trials. 

HDR image of the forest near Whitakers

HDR Sunset in the forest near Whitakers

HDR Sunset in the forest near Whitakers

HDR image looking west from the Big Baldy Ridge

HDR image looking south from the Big Baldy Ridge

HDR image looking north from the Big Baldy Ridge

Colin says I don't have enough images on my site of me. Since he is my advisor for this site, and almost everything I know in the new era of tech comes directly from him, I figure I ought to just trust him on this one... So here's a few images of me he made while we were up on Big Baldy. 

Hiking up the Big Baldy Ridge

Making images from the top of the Big Baldy Ridge

Sharing with Colin an image on the back of the camera - Big Baldy

We made some zoom lens images from the Big Baldy Ridge. 

Granite ridge near Big Baldy

Granite slabs near Big Baldy

After a "rest" day from climbing (when we went hiking), we went to pick up Rob and Sean and crank out our May 28 update from a McDonalds parking lot in Fresno. We were so hot in the rental car that sweat was literally pouring onto our computers trying to finish the coding. 
The next few images show the day Rob and I climbed to the near summit of a Giant Sequoia to get ready for seed cone collection. Rob went up first and while he worked on his ropes in the tree I made some images surrounding the base of the massive giant. 

Climbing Rope hanging next to a Giant Sequoia

Young Fir with Giant Sequoia behind

Young Fir with Giant Sequoia behind

Sprigs of Giant Sequoia vegetation in the sunlight

Rob looking for a higher branch to tie onto about 150' up in a Giant Sequoia

Haul Bag going into the tree with food, clothing and water for a day of climbing

At the end of the day we hadn't reached the top of the tree. It was a very difficult climb with gaps in reliable branches up to 40' and a lot of scary dead stuff hanging overhead. 

Rob rappelling out of a Giant Sequoia

Rob, Colin and Sean after three days solid of climbing Giant Sequoia

HDR image of the moon and Giant Sequoia canopy near Whitakers

After we finished the cone collection project we spent a full day practicing rescue scenarios. The last day before we drove down to Fresno we went on a nice hike to the Sugar Bowl Grove which is just above where we climb at Whitakers. We also used the time to learn more about camera and post processing tech. 

HDR image of Colin next to a Giant Sequoia in the Sugar Bowl Grove in Sequoia National Park

HDR image of the Big Baldy ridge as seen from the Sugar Bowl Grove in Sequoia National Park

HDR image of lupines in the Sugar Bowl Grove, Sequoia National Park

Lupine leaf up close and personal in the Sugar Bowl Grove, Sequoia National Park

Colin also hacked the wireless triggers for off camera flash, and we setup a quick indoor studio. 

Colin experimenting shooting with off camera flash and a red gel

Sean and Rob in three places - 30 second exposure with three flashes

On June 2 around 5pm, we locked the gate at Whitakers and rolled down to Fres-yes. It was a solid 2.5 weeks living and working on the property. Sad to leave, but stoked on the various successes and rewards from the collaboration. Thanks to all who helped make this possible. Until next time, D.Katz, C. Crilley.