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Desert Brush Details, Mono Lake, 2012

 

Desert Brush Details, Mono Lake, 2012

Desert Brush Details, Mono Lake, 2012

Just prior to making this photo, I had shot a beautiful sunset over the Mono Lake. When all the light from the high clouds had disappeared, I turned around to scene lit by beautiful dispersed light, one that usually occurs after the sun has set.

Well, I went to the Eastern Sierras in late Sept to get some of the fall colors while they still lasted, but this evening, looking at the weather reports, there was some promise of a late evening storm clearing up around sunset, so I decided to go to Mono Lake, souther shore instead. The sunset was good, with some brightly lit high clouds over a ripple free reflecting lake, and to add to that, it was the full moon that night. While at the southern shores of the lake, it can be challenging to get the moon and the lake together, I did get a shot of the rising moon over the eastern ranges.

When all that was done, I found this little detail in the desert brush, not far from the shoreline. I used a long lens to pick some patterns in the tall grass and since it was already dark, to keep noise as low as possible, I resorted to a very long exposure (10s in this case). Lucky me, there was no wind to disturb these grasses.

 

 

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Tall Grass Sticking out of Water, Folsom, CA

Tall Grass Sticking Out of Water, Folsom, CA - Canon5DMarkII_Canon70-200@70mm_F8_1/10s_ISO100

This was shot, standing on a bridge, while looking down at the water. The sun was setting behind me and was casting this beautiful light on the top of the grass, but not the water. Initially while looking at it on a screen, I had an impression that this could seem to be busy, so I made a small 6×4 test print and I really liked the result.

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Crazy Oak, Folsom, CA

Crazy Oak , Folsom, CA - Canon5DMarkII_Canon70-200mm@70mm_F8_1/60s_ISO100

This is the “crazy” oak tree that I talked about in my earlier post. I had walked by this tree many number of times here in Folsom and it is during the winter months that this tree puts on an amazing show. The bare tree trunks, weirdly shaped, standout very clearly against the sky.

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Melting Ice and Grass, Yosemite, CA

Melting Ice and Grass, Yosemite, CA Canon5DMarkII_Canon70-200@126_F11_1/6s_ISO100

Submerged dead grass bunch shown through a patch of melting ice in Cooks Meadow in Yosemite National Park.

I first looked at this patch while I was just scouting for location without my camera pack. At that time the clearing through the ice was just small, with a small portion of the grass still visible. Once I returned back with my camera, I used a long lens to close in on this detail, used a polarizer to cut the glare from the water surface and when the light was just right, i.e. hitting the patch of grass, I took this image. Minutes later the ice melted away leaving behind a completely different scene.

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Icy Reflections, Cooks Meadow, Yosemite

Snowy Reflections, Cooks Meadow, Yosemite

Snowy Reflections, Cooks Meadow, Yosemite - Canon_5D_MarkII-Canon_70-200mm-F11-1/50s-ISO100

Click on photo to view in light-box

Cooks meadow in winter is covered in fresh snow/ice creating beautiful mountain and valley like formations all over. Early in the morning the angled light casts beautiful highlight and shadows all over the meadow. In the photograph above, I used my long lens to concentrate on one particular formation and its reflection in the water. The calm waters in the meadow provide crystal clear reflections (I used a polarizer here to remove undesired glare on the water surface), be it of the close by details or the grand Half Dome.

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Grass and Rain Drops, Folsom, California

Grass and Rain Droplets, Folsom, CA

Grass and Rain Droplets, Folsom, CA

Tall green grass blown by strong winds right after a rain storm

Last year, around this time, Folsom had seen quite a lot of rain and the grass around the biking trails had grown very tall. In the photograph above the same tall grass were forced flat on the ground by strong winds. As this was shot just after rains stopped, the freshness of the greens and the rain droplets had attracted me to this scene.

I hope I had put some effort to visualize a square format presentation. If I had, instead of cropping and loosing pixels, I could have combined two frame and have a similar crop as this one, and not loose pixels as well. Well, something to keep in mind the next time I’m out shooting I guess.

It amazes me as to how photography has made me aware of my surroundings. When I returned to this same scene, the very same patch of earth barely has 6 inch long grass. There simply isn’t enough rains this time around. But, I see some rain forecast in the coming weeks, so I hope to get out and enjoy them as I did last year.

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Blade of Grass, Folsom, CA

Blade of Grass, Folsom, California

Blade of Grass, Folsom, California

A blade of grass sticking out of calm water just after some rains in Folsom, California

On the day I made this photo, although the sunset was spectacular, I was not at a location with open space to capture the sky. But instead, I had a little pond reflecting all the colors and these blades of grass sticking out of it, with those little distortions due to surface tension.

Grass and sunset reflections in an un-named pond, Folsom, California

Grass and sunset reflections in an un-named pond, Folsom, California

I made the image on the left, the very same day, may be a few minutes after the sun went down. As you can see, the surface distortions were so prominent and kind of glowing in the evening light. I had to capture and present that glow. To do that, I used my long lens (70-200mm) to isolate just one grass. The rains had subsided, which gave way to the perfect reflection of the grass in the water.

Its surprising how fragile certain things are. I returned to photograph these blades of grass again the next day, but those distortions were nowhere to be found. Sunshine during the day had evaporated some water and had totally altered the scene.

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Mist and trees, Ahwahnee Medow, Yosemite National Park, CA

Rising Mist, Ahwahnee Medow, Yosemte National Park,CA

Rising Mist, Ahwahnee Medow, Yosemte National Park,CA Canon_7D-Canon70-200mm-F11_1/20s-ISO100

#1 Mist rising from Ahwahnee Medow, and the soft morning light backlighting the almost turned fall leaves. #2 First light hitting uper yosemite falls as a burst of water glides down the granite

I vividly remember the morning I made this photo. When I woke up early and looked up outside the tent, there was not a single cloud to be seen. Whereas the previuos two days that I was there, it was rather more interesting than that. But instead of sleeping in late, we decided to go out anyways before sunrise towards Tunnel View and see what we end up getting. Surpisingly as I was passing though Ahwahnee medow, there was this (very) thin layer of mist that was rising up and I decided to just wait it out here in the medow until the sun crept into the valley.

I ended up keeping two images from this mornings shoot.

First Light on Upper Yosemite Falls, Yosemite, California

First Light on Upper Yosemite Falls, Yosemite, California - Canon_7D-Canon70-200mm-F11-1/100-ISO100

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Morning Mist, June Lake, California

 

Morning Mist and Grass, June Lake, California

Morning Mist and Grass, June Lake, California

Mist rising from the lake surface  at sunrise on a cold autumn morning in June Lake, Eastern Sierras, California

This was shot during my second visit to the eastern sierras this fall. The first visit had generated some wonderful fall color viewing and photographing opportunities, so I kind of had high expectations from my second visit, but due to recent snows, most of the color was knocked down and the weather did not co-operate. I had set up camp at the June Lake Campground, but instead of waking early in the morning and driving a long distance to either South/North Lake or Lake Sabrina (a favourite fall color photographing location), I instead chose to sleep a little late and enjoy the sunrise from the banks of June Lake.

It was also my wife’s first camping out in the cold, well it was 35F – 40F in the night and for someone from the tropics, that’s a lot to tolerate. But the mood at the lake at sunrise with all the mist rising from the surface did compensate for all the cold she had to tolerate and she actually enjoyed being there.

There was sound from a light breeze, the thin layer of mist on the lake surface dancing around with it, but other than that it was completely silent. I noticed these long grass sticking out from the lake bed along with their reflection in the calm waters. Along with the mist and some muted colors, I think it conveys the silent and calm mood pretty well. With no color saturation, I did think about presenting this in BW, but I think there is not much contrast in the scene for that to be effective and also I like the muted colors.

I made this photograph with not much color, while my primary intention of this visit was to to capture vibrant fall colors. Sometimes a pre-conceived idea can completely blind you from seeing everything else that is interesting, but I’m glad that I was able to switch my mindset to adapt what lay before me. I think it is important to be flexible with our plans, when conditions do not co-operate for or original plan to work out.

Here is one from when the first light hit the snow covered peaks.

Sunrise and Morning Mist, June Lake, California

Sunrise and Morning Mist, June Lake, California

Comments and criticism welcomed.

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