Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Yosemite - One trip...Two seasons

For the last couple of days, I have been having fun in the Yosemite Valley. We were there to celebrate my mother's 80th birthday (happy birthday mom!) and, of course, I had to make time to shoot some images while there.

I got up very early on Monday morning and started my drive to Yosemite, but since I was running ahead of schedule, I decided to make a quick stop at the Altamont Pass to get a couple of shots of the windmills. I have driven by these hundreds of times but never taken the time to shoot images there.

And then, after meeting up with my brother in Manteca, CA, we headed towards the National Park. He was anxious to learn about photography, so we made numerous stops on the way into the park. We came across a couple of creeks and waterfalls and so I thought that this would be a good time to teach him how to slow the shutter of his camera to show the flowing water.

This shot was taken at with a one second exposure (on my trusty Gitzo tripod of course) at ISO 100. I also used a Tiffen circular polarizing filter to knock out the reflections.

We finally got into the Yosemite Valley at noon and had to make the stop at the Tunnel View. Yep, this is the spot where everyone in the world (or so it seems) had taken a picture. One of the park rangers told me that this is the most photographed landscape in the world. We had sunny weather which was nice, since we knew that a big storm was approaching later that evening. I shot the image above and thought that, in the spirit of Ansel Adams, I would turn it into a black and white image. I used the NIK Silver Efex Pro software to make the conversion.

Then we hit the valley floor and shot some more "tourist shots". The sun was still out and it got a little warm. I actually got sunburn on my face and neck. We were having fun and my brother was learning a lot (I think), so all was good!

The next morning we woke up to totally different weather. Seriously, I have never seen snow flakes the size of a silver dollar. These things were HUGE and really wet. But that did not stop us from venturing out and checking out the sites. Since my mother had a handicap placard, we were able to drive up to Mirror Lake and get some shots in the snow.

And then...after lunch...the snow stopped falling for a couple of hours and we had just a teeny bit of clearing. Just enough to get this shot with the clouds hanging over the big rocks.

As we were driving through the valley, I saw this cluster of trees and rock formations with the clouds intermixed and I knew that I had to capture this. I was especially drawn to the two large pointed rocks that you can see pointing up just to the right of the middle of the image. I did convert this image to B&W but even the original was very monochromatic, due to the heavy cloud cover.
I took this shot as we were exiting Yosemite this morning. The park is so beautiful, that I could have stopped a hundred more times. When I got home this afternoon, I was edited the images from the trip. This image was a tough one for me. I still can not decide if I like the B&W version of the color version better. Let me know what you think.


Unknown said...

Both shots of the falls are excellent, but I prefer the hint of green in the trees over the pure B&W.

Gui said...

Yep. Color. B&W version is really nice too, but...color.

Unknown said...

Great pictures. Every time I read your blog or notes I learn something new. Thanks! I also like the color image.