This time of year – late May into early June – is a special time in the forests along the Northwest Pacific Coast. During these few weeks you can find wild Pacific Rhododendrons (Rhododendron macrophyllum) bringing joy to the woods with their large pink flowers.

Although the Redwood parks in Northern California may be most famous for these flowers, affectionatly referred to as Rhodies, Washington’s Olympic National Forest puts on an impressive show, too. Last weekend I went out to the Peninsula to see our beautiful state flower on the east side of the Olympic mountains. There the sparse hemlock forest understory was filled with blooming Rhodies! Not long after I found this particularly photogenic “bouquet” the sun began playing hide and seek with the clouds, offering brief moments of subtle spotlighting, adding depth to the scene.

Click image for larger view!

Wild Rhododendrons, Olympic National Forest, Washington

Wild Rhododendrons : Prints Available
Wild Rhododendrons fill the hillsides with spectacular flowers when they burst into bloom in late May in Washington’s Olympic National Forest.

The Tech: Canon 5D2, Nikon 14-24mm, tripod
Exposure: iso 100, f/22, 1/6th sec
Notes: I used a second exposure (1/20th sec) to control the highlights in the sky.

In Washington we might not have the giants of the Redwood parks, nor the mist and sunbursts that are commonplace there. However, the sheer number of flowers, and the shorter size of the plants, makes up for it. Fives years ago I had the chance to spend several days among the redwoods in Northern California, and almost always wished I was about 10 feet taller. For reasons beyond me, I never did process and share the following image from that trip, so I thought now was an appropriate time to publish it.

Click image for larger view!

Redwoods and Rhododendrons, Fog and Sun, California

Burst of Life : Prints Available
The sun breaks through layers of morning fog in California’s Del Norte Redwood State Park in early June, when the wild Pacific Rhododendrons bloom amidst the giant Redwood trees.

The Tech: Canon 5D, 17-40mm, 2-stop grad filter, tripod
Exposure: iso 200, f/16, 1/5th sec

Tags: , ,

5 Comments to “Wild Rhododendrons of the Pacific Coast”

  1. Haven’t been out commenting much for a long time, but here we go. Way to take that Redwood photography to the next level. Great combination of God’s Rays and wildflowers in the second one. Very strong image, Floris.

  2. ericephoto says:

    Awesome images! I’m actually in n California now shooting the same thing! I was also in need of some inspiration so this is perfect timing. Hope to capture something in the next few days. EE

  3. Thanks Philippe, David, and Eric, I appreciate the kind words!

  4. Nicole says:

    Fab, lovely work