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Sheet of Ice, Yosemite, 2012

Sheet of Ice, Yosemite, 2012

Sheet of Ice, Yosemite, 2012

A beautifully shaped sheet of ice found along the Merced close to Cathedral beach.

I usually make it a point to stop at some of the popular spots in the park, spend some time and check for any new details. I had previously stopped along the Cook’s meadow for some lunch/ browsing time at the gallery. I spent some time in Cook’s meadow photographing, but the next leg of the storm moved in and I had to pack. I moved further west, circled back on south side drive and stopped at the Cathedral Beach parking pullover. I walked towards the beach over 2ft of fallen snow with an umbrella in one hand and the tripod in another and found El Capitan was fully engulfed in clouds. But this little detail along the banks made the whole effort worthwhile.

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Snowy Banks, Yosemite, 2012

Snowy Banks, Yosemite, CA

Snowy Banks, Yosemite, CA

Visiting places in the park you are already familiar with can be very rewarding. Since you already know the location, you are not anxious and that can lead to you seeing new opportunities not seen by you before.

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Black Oaks, El Capitan Meadow, Yosemite 2012

Black Oaks, El Capitan Meadow, Yosemite 2012

Black Oaks, El Capitan Meadow, Yosemite 2012

Just after a snow storm, a wee bit of sunlight filters through the clouds to light up the scene.

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El Capitan, Clearing Storm, Yosemite, 2012

El Capitan, Clearing Storm, Yosemite 2012

El Capitan, Clearing Storm, Yosemite 2012

This one was shot a little while after I got this earlier shot. As I had mentioned in my earlier post, I had stopped by El Capitan meadow to photograph the black oaks while it was still snowing. After a while it stopped snowing and there was a brief interruption in the storm with blue skies over El Capitan. To get a little further away from the road, I plowed through the foot deep snow into the El Capitan meadow towards the black oaks. I crossed the small group of these oaks and looked back. The clearing over the granite had moved on further east by then, but the diffused light on it was still good.

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Clearing Storm and El Capitan, Yosemite, 2012

Clearing Storm, El Capitan, Yosemite 2012

Clearing Storm, El Capitan, Yosemite 2012

I made a day trip to Yosemite as a late snow storm moved through the park. I was a able to catch 2 breaks in the storm, one from noon to 2pm and then a very short one at 5. As I drove back west well before sunset, I went through some heavy snowfall and then rain which would eventually head towards the valley blocking any light around sunset.

I had stopped near El Capitan meadow to photograph some black oaks while it was still snowing. After a while, suddenly I saw some sunlight filter through the oaks. When I turned around and looked up at the towering El Capitan, I saw a little patch of blue sky drift fast above it.  I was too close to the action and I ended up tilting my wide angle lens a little up, which is very evident from this frame (you can see the trees on the edge of the frame bent towards the center).

I tried correcting the perspective distortion in Photoshop, but after a while decided to stick with the original. I like the trees bent I guess.

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Fisherman, Amerirican River Parkway, Sacramento, CA

Fisherman, Amerirican River Parkway, Sacramento, CA

Fisherman, Amerirican River Parkway, Sacramento, CA

Living close to a place with potential has a definite advantage. For one, you don;t have to set the alarm too early to catch good light, which is a good thing during the winter :)

This location is about 15mins drive for me and on this particular day, I could reach here early, before sunrise to scope out potential subjects. The rising mist from the river was a pleasant surprise, so was the fisherman in blue. I saw him before sunrise, made some shots (without the bright saturated colors on the opposite banks) and made a mental note to return back to him when the light was rite.

This place is surrounded by urban landscape, with houses on the cliffs (above this frame) and the challenge for me here was to exclude them from the natural beauty. Had I been too stringent in not including anything human, I would have lost that focal point which emphasizes the scale in this image and also makes this image work.

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Sunset Reflections, Folsom, CA

Sunset Reflections, Folsom, CA

Sunset Reflections, Folsom, CA

I witnessed a gorgeous sunset a while back and since traveling long distance after work was not an option, I managed to spend some time at a seasonal pond here in Folsom.

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Morning Reflections, American River Parkway, Sacramento, CA

Morning Reflections, American River Parkway, Sacramento, CA

Morning Reflections, American River Parkway, Sacramento, CA

A Great White Heron basking in the warm early morning light along the American River.

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Ross Geese at Sunset, Merced NWR, CA

Ross Geese at Sunset, Merced NWR, CA

Ross Geese at Sunset, Merced NWR, CA

A peaceful scene at the Merced NWR, just before the noisy liftoff shown in my previous post.

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Sunset and Sky Filled with Ross Geese, Merced NWR, CA

Sunset and Sky Filled with Ross Geese, Merced NWR, CA

Sunset and Sky Filled with Ross Geese, Merced NWR, CA

I spent an afternoon at the Merced NWR trying to photograph Ross Geese, who spend their winter here in large numbers (something like 50-60k). Most of the time, I was waiting by a seasonal pond waiting for them lift-off while listening to their noisy cryptic chatter. There were few anxious moments when it looked like they may take off in large numbers, but nothing really happened.

As dusk approached, they started to fly away in small groups to a nearby field far away from the road and it looked like they were going to spend the night there. But something spooked them right after the sun went down, they screamed past me in a large circle and most of then flew back to the filed from which they took off. I had given up all hope, and was concentrating on some sunset reflections shots, when my wife alerted me to a low rumble from the distant filed, and I turned around in time to see the large cloud of birds lift-off once again and came flying back to the pond there were in before. Its hard to describe the scene with words, so take a look at the video below. I shot this before and after I made this photo.

http://youtu.be/7fb8N9fgyvs

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