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Tag Archives: intimate landscape

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.

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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.

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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.

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Dogwood Tree, Yosemite

Dogwood Tree, Yosemite

Dogwood Tree, Yosemite Canon5DmarkII_Canon70-200@149_F8_1/6s_ISO100

Dogwoods along the trail to Mirror Lake in Yosemite National Park, California.

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Dispersed Dogwoods, Yosemite National Park

Dispersed Dogwoods, Yosemite National Park

Dispersed Dogwoods, Yosemite National Park Canon5DMarkII_Canon70-200@200_F8_1/20s_ISO100

In my last post, I talked about how the dogwoods shine against the background forest when the light is just right. This shot is one such case. Bright diffused sunlight shining through clouds gives some even lighting to the scene. Even with this even lighting, I used a polarizer to removed some distracting reflections off of the dark foliage surrounding the dogwoods.

Scenes like this are abound during the peak dogwood blooming season, but isolating them from the surrounding forest and finding a spot to place my tripod was sometimes easy, but sometimes required good amount of bush whacking :)

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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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Inrush, Seaweed and Waves, Mclures Beach, Point Reyes, CA

Inrush, Seaweed and Waves, Mclures Beach, California - Canon5DMarkII_Canon17-40mm@40mm_F11_2s_ISO100

There are these small details everywhere I like, for example, little patches of seaweed found along beaches. They sway along with the movement of the waves and each time a wave crashes and then recedes, these plants take on a new form, a new shape altogether.

I found these while I was scouting for other photo opportunities along the beach while it was still sunny. I made a mental note to return back to the this location later to create some long exposures. Once the sun went down, I setup my tripod on a rock and composed this frame while pointing my lens down. I made number of exposures, with waves rushing in, out or with water movement throughout the exposure duration. This one above was shot after a wave receded and created a beautiful pattern in the seaweed and just as the next wave came rushing into the frame.

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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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Reflected Rock, Mclures Beach, Point Reyes, CA

Reflected Rock, Mclures Beach, Point Reyes National Seashore, CA

A ‘short’ 2hr drive and about a mile downhill hike took us to this beautiful isolated beach in the north end of Point Reyes National seashore. First impression, there are tons of photo opportunities here, depending on the tidal conditions.

Towards the south, there are good amount of rock formations, there is a vast expanse of clear beach all around and some fine rocks, like the one above that dot the beach. In my most recent outings, I’ve tended to point my camera not at the setting sun, but in the opposite direction to capture the beach elements in the late evening light. This also gives me some photographs from the shoot worth sharing, if the sky doesn’t blow up with rich colors, which happens more often than not.

The reflections here don’t normally exist, they appear as the waves crash in and for a brief moment, the sand retains some surface moisture before they all sink in. Check out these subtle reflections next time you are at a beach!

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