Can You Feel the Embrace of Giants? A Photographer's Quest in Sequoia National Park

A magnificent giant Sequoia stands tall against a backdrop of blue sky and fluffy clouds, symbolizing strength and the splendor of nature.

The Story Behind "Sequoia Love"

My name is Jamie, and I am a passionate nature & landscape photographer from Las Vegas, Nevada. I have been creating art from my photos for almost 20 years, first underwater, now on dry land.

It has always been my dream to become a full-time professional artist. Now that I have been capturing professional-quality photographs on dry land for a few years, I have an overwhelming urge to travel all the time. Sequoia National Park was at the top of the list! So I planned, saved, and planned some more. My goal was to capture the scale and beauty of the magnificent Giant Sequoias. And my opportunity was finally here.
The National Parks have become very crowded in recent years. On any typical day, the amount of people around makes it difficult to take decent landscape photos. Especially ones depicting the beautiful serenity of nature in its natural form. Entry into the park and the number of people around were going to be a hurdle that I would have to navigate. However, I have patience and perseverance, open-mindedness, and unrelenting diligence as part of who I am at the core.
After driving more than seven hours from Las Vegas to the campsite in Lemon Cove, my husband and I woke up early at 6:30am. We then drove another two hours to reach the trails with Sequoias in the National Park. It was late April, and there was a layer of fresh snow from the final winter storm two days prior.
Upon arrival, the air felt brisk, and I could hear snowballs falling from the tree branches far above my head. Every once in a while, I felt a cold speck land on my cheek, where I caught tiny drops of the snow melting. Other times, it felt like dodging snow bombs as more giant pieces dove from the branches.
To my dismay, the sun was high when we reached the trail, and visitors were everywhere. I intended to show the trees undisturbed, as they would stand without human interruption. I captured whatever photos I could and left with an overwhelming feeling of defeat. My vision just wasn't panning out. I had yet to see how I would photograph the Giant Sequoia for my professional portfolio, with this many obstacles coming from every direction.
Luckily, there was an extra day left on the trip. So the following day, I woke up at 4:00am and drove the same two hours to reach the trails as the day before. This time, arriving much earlier as the sun began to rise.
This time, I noticed fresh bear tracks near the site of a knocked-over trash can as I approached the trailhead. The prints were about the size of my hand, which meant it wasn't a giant bear. But a bear was in close by, and recently too!

It was a chilly morning with the snow still covering the ground. I was freezing, and my fingers were numb, but I didn't care. With each step, I walked carefully. I scanned the forest as far as my eyes could see. At the same time, my husband and I spoke loudly. This way, if the bear was still nearby could hear us coming from a safe distance.
Safety is often one of the trade-offs of having solitude in National Parks these days. I kept the bear and the cold in the back of my mind, but I kept trekking on!
As I rounded the corner of the trail, I noticed two Sequoias were taller than all the rest and seemed intertwined with one another. There wasn't another soul in sight. Standing at just the right angle, they looked like they were hugging! Just as the sun began peering through the trees, the trunks of the embracing Sequoias began to illuminate. I took a moment and stood there in awe of their size and beauty. Then I quickly prepared my camera and composed my masterpiece just as I originally intended. I was so excited that I could not wait to get home and create a giant print of this photo to display over my fireplace.
The opportunity to capture these two trees from this perspective parallels my love of nature and the peace I feel when standing among these giants. I am so glad I returned to this spot to give it another try, as I could now walk away from the day feeling accomplished with a beautiful new addition to my professional portfolio to share with the world.

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