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Favorites Photographs from 2011

Below are some of my favorites from 2011. This must be the year that I concentrated more on the details in the landscape, rather than wide expansive scenes. I enjoyed the vast opportunities that the details provided, when weather conditions did not bode well for wide angle views. I have given short synopsis for each photograph below. Do scroll/swipe through them and write something if you enjoyed!

Outrush, Mclures Beach, Point Reyes, CA

Outrush, Mclures Beach, Point Reyes, CA

Waves, receding into the ocean, at Mclures beach, Point Reyes National Seashore, California. Light faded early at this location due to foggy conditions, but I did enjoy some long exposures before I left.

Snow, Tree and Reflections, Yosemite National Park, CA

Snow, Tree and Reflections, Yosemite National Park, CA

A clearing snow storm overnight, gave way for some clear blue skies and excellent photographic conditions the next morning. Temperatures were still low, and hence the snow was not melting off of the trees. This allowed some clear reflections in the Merced.

Fog and Trees, Yosemite National Park, CA

Fog and Trees, Yosemite National Park, CA

Fog slowly creeping along the Yosemite valley floor a day after a snow storm dumped snow on these trees. You can still see some snow lingering on these trees.

Last Light on Mauna Kea, Hawaii

Last Light on Mauna Kea, Hawaii

Mauna Kea, the dormant volcano as seen from the junction of Hw19 and Waikoloa Beach Rd.

Dance of the Dogwoods, Yosemite National Park, CA

Dance of the Dogwoods, Yosemite National Park, CA

Well, the Dogwoods were dancing in a light breeze as I was stetting up this frame and this must be my favorite for the year.

Half Dome and High Clouds Reflected in the Merced River, Yosemite, CA

Half Dome and High Clouds Reflected in the Merced River, Yosemite, CA

Clouds from a summer thunderstorm put on a vivid color display at sunset behind the half dome.

Raging Merced and Resilant Tree, Yosemite National Park, CA

Raging Merced and Resilant Tree, Yosemite National Park, CA

Late evening light on the cliffs surrounding the merced, reflect beautiful golden and blue light. This, coupled with the record amount of snow melt water in Yosemite, made this image possible.

Reflected Rocks, Tenaya Lake, Yosemite National Park. CA

Reflected Rocks, Tenaya Lake, Yosemite National Park. CA

The strange water level marks on the rocks and the surrounding trees found along the Tenaya Lake shores, made for a good subject on one beautiful morning.

Light Shadow and Storm, Hope Valley, CA

Light Shadow and Storm, Hope Valley, CA

Summer thunder storms clearing one morning created some beautiful light and shadows in Hope Valley. I was on my way to the Eastern Sierras and I had to stop and capture this scene.

Grass adn Reflections, Yosemite

Grass adn Reflections, Yosemite

Details found along the Merced early morning, with lingering snow on the long strands of grass.

Elm Tree, Fall and Snow, Yosemite National Park, Fall 2011

Elm Tree, Fall and Snow, Yosemite National Park, Fall 2011

End of fall intersected with the first snow storm of the season in Yosemite. This was shot as the snow storm cleared one morning, while Cook’s Meadow was still foggy and in the shadow.

Posted in Landscape

Pre-Dawn Colors and Ripples, Tenaya Lake, Yosemite

Pre-Dawn Colors and Ripples, Tenaya Lake, Yosemite

Pre-Dawn Colors and Ripples, Tenaya Lake, Yosemite

Small waves reaching the shores of a lake distort whatever they reflect, creating unique patterns every moment. In this frame, they were reflecting a small group of clouds, colored by the pre-dawn light. The trick here, I think is to pay close attention to the shutter speed. The amount of light in such situations can be low, and a slow shutter speed can blur out the reflections and remove any color saturation. I used a relatively fast shutter speed 1/30s to freeze the waves and the reflections.

Posted in Intimate Landscapes

First Light on Granite and Trees, Yosemite

First Light on Granite and Trees, Yosemite

First Light on Granite and Trees, Yosemite

I had arrived at Tenaya Lake for a morning shoot well before sunrise. Clouds did not cooperate for a glorious, out of this world sky with vivid colors, so I had turned my attention to some of the intricate details in the landscape along the shores. But when the first light started to kiss the granites and the tree tops, I had to turn my attention away from the details and point my long lens to the distant granite.

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Trees and Reflections, Tenaya Lake, Yosemite

Trees and Reflections, Tenaya Lake, Yosemite

Trees and Reflections, Tenaya Lake, Yosemite

This frame was made on the same morning as my previous post along the Tenaya lake shores. The sun was up for quite some time sneaked up above the ridge (top and left of this frame) and was side lighting the trees. Brief pauses in the wind provided momentary clear reflections on the lake surface clearing out all surface ripples. Once the winds picked up, the ripples would appear once again and blur out the reflections. As you can see, this frame was made while there was still some surface ripples left. I think, that way, the picture is more dynamic with some neat texture in the water surface.

Posted in Intimate Landscapes, Yosemite National Park Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Tree, Rocks and Water Level Marks, Tenaya Lake, Yosemite

Tree Stump, Rocks and Water Level Marks, Tenaya Lake, Yosemite

Tree Stump, Rocks and Water Level Marks, Tenaya Lake, Yosemite

I was camping in Yosemite this summer and decided to head up to Tenaya Lake for the early sunrise. Once I reached there, I realized there wasn’t going to be any spectacular sunrise, since there were no clouds. So I decided to explore the shores of the lake to see if I could find any interesting details in the landscape. I stumbled upon (as many should have) a group of trees and boulders with circular bands, probably created by the receding water levels.

I test fired some shots with the sun still behind the peaks, but realized that I needed direct light to have a decent picture. I scouted out multiple subjects and compositions. Once the warm sunlight reached the scene, I was ready and made many exposures, one of them is here in this post and the rest, I will be sharing soon.

The strong contrast between the lighter bands on the tree, rocks and the surrounding shadows was something that I wanted to capture in this photo.

Posted in Intimate Landscapes, Yosemite National Park Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Fall, Trees and Reflection, Yosemite National Park, CA

Fall, Trees and Reflection, Yosemite National Park. CA

Fall, Trees and Reflection, Yosemite National Park. CA

I was out in search of some colorful dogwood trees along the Merced, which I remembered from my spring visit. Having photographed the colorful leaves, I was attracted to this quaint little scene along the river banks. A bright overcast day allowed for some good fall foliage shooting conditions.  Light breeze, sometimes disturbed the water surface removing the clear reflections, but there was lots of time for me to capture this scene once the water surface settled down.

Posted in Intimate Landscapes, Yosemite National Park Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Elm Tree, Fall and Snow, Yosemite National Park, CA – Fall 2011

Elm Tree, Fall and Snow, Yosemite National Park, Fall 2011

Elm Tree, Fall and Snow, Yosemite National Park, Fall 2011

I was fortunate enough to be in the park during a beautiful transition period, when the last of the fall colors intersected with the first (err second) snow shower. The snow storm which had dumped a small amount of snow overnight had just cleared early in the morning (after sunrise). If I had panned a little to the left, the upper left corner would have caught the bright morning sky. But instead I concentrated on the shadows. It takes a little while for the sunlight to reach the valley floor.

Posted in Intimate Landscapes, Yosemite National Park

Morning Reflections, Yosemite High Country, CA

Morning Reflections, Yosemite High Country, CA

Morning Reflections, Yosemite High Country, CA

During this time of the year, the Yosemite high country along the Tioga Pass road, is dotted with small ponds. They are mostly still all time of the day and are perfect mirrors. You could be driving at a fast pace, but still be able to appreciate the subtle reflections from these ponds. In fact, that is how I first saw this scene.

After the hike up to the Gaylor Lakes, there was still time until sunset, and I decided to get some hot food into my system, before I headed out to the Mono Lake area. I was driving to the Tuolumne meadow grill and on the way, on my left hand side I noticed this pond reflecting the surrounding foliage. There was no visible landmark near this pond, except that it was right next to a pullover on the road. At that time, this scene was in complete shadow and I made a mental note to return back to this scene. In hindsight, may be I should have stopped and photographed under these conditions as well.

Next morning, after spending some time in the Dana meadow area at sunrise, I drove up to this scene. The warm rays of the sun had just lit the entire scene, the reflections were still there, but a little subdued due to the direct light and there were mosquitoes (or some sort of flies) hovering over the pond as you can see in this image.

Posted in Intimate Landscapes, Yosemite National Park Tagged , , , , , , , , , , |

Tufa Towers, Mono Lake, California

Mono Lake, California, August 2011

Mono Lake, California, August 2011

Promise of some thunderstorm made me come to the Eastern Sierra region last weekend. I spent the day hiking up to Gaylor Lake basin and then wandered off to the Mono Lake area for sunset. With a thunderstorm forecast, the expectation was of beautiful clouds above the lake, which would glow pink after the sun went down, casting beautiful light on the landscape. Well, that did not happen :) The clouds stayed far off on the eastern horizon and the sun went below the western sierra mountains 1/2 hr before sunset, casting shadows in the entire region.

Although I had admired the distant view of the lake from Hwy 395 before, this was the first time that I was visiting the Mono Lake Tufa State Park, along the south shore of the lake. It is a vast area with many photographic opportunities, I think. Something that needs further exploration in the coming months.

Clear reflections in the lake itself was rather impossible because of the ripple/waves. Some clear reflection of the tufa tower on some standing water and rather pleasant looking green grass along the shore helped make the above photograph.

Posted in Uncategorized

Young and Old Tree, Yosemite, CA

Young and Old Tree, Yosemite National Park, CA

Young and Old Tree, Yosemite National Park, CA

I made this photograph during my recent visit to the park when the Merced river was exhibiting high water levels. This obviously created some really interesting photo opportunities for me.

I was invited to the scene above by the smaller of the two trees in the frame. The raging river was hammering this little sapling so hard that it was perpetually bent, leaning towards the flow of the current. There used to be some quite times, but they were really short; and beside this young tree stood this solid fully grown tree, not budging at all. The water itself was reflecting the clear blue skies and the late evening light on the tall granite peaks. The not so inviting aspect of this scene were the mosquitoes. They were out is such huge numbers that, I think they were fighting among themselves for any small exposed skin. Some of them didn’t even need the exposed skin, they were biting me through my t-shirt.

The small tree is blurred mainly due to the choice of shutter speed. I could have chosen a faster shutter to freeze the fast bouncing tree, but that would have created a very busy looking water flow. I chose to slow down the shutter to get some pleasing texture in the water, which would make it easier to concentrate on the main subjects. In the process, the small tree itself got blurred, but I think that blur should convey the dynamic nature of the scene.

Posted in Intimate Landscapes