Until recently, I had never seen a redwood tree in person. I’ve heard all sorts of things about their size and have seen enough pictures to know that anyone’s description of them likely wasn’t a hyperbole. But when I saw one up close, I thought I’d sprain my neck tilting as far back as I could to take in its enormity. The tree I’m highlighting in this first episode of ON1 Inspiration sits in the Stout Grove, part of Jedediah Smith Redwood State Park in California. A local who I encountered while admiring this particular tree told me that its name is, in fact, the Stout Tree and it stands at 325 feet high with a girth of almost 16.5 feet!

My knee-jerk instinct was to use my 12mm fisheye lens to capture as much of the tree in a single frame as possible but that only resulted in a flat photo. The real magic would happen by providing a sense of scale that viewers could relate to. Hence, my choice to focus on the base of the tree and use my good friend, Brian (who stands at 6’2”), to serve as my reference. In order to get the entire trunk and its immediate surroundings in the frame while retaining some lens compression, I tightened my focal length a bit and took a series of panels that I ended up stitching into a single panoramic photo. I know that panos are typically associated with vast, sweeping vistas but they have a very legitimate place in tighter photos, too.

And with that, I hope you enjoy the video I put together walking you through how I styled this mighty redwood using ON1 Photo 10.

ON1 Inspiration: Episode 1