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Autumn Morning, Yosemite National Park, California

Autumn Morning - Yosemite National Park, CA

Autumn Morning - Yosemite National Park, CA

Mirror like reflections in the Merced river on a beautiful autumn morning in Yosemite National Park, CA

Walking along the banks of the merced river can be such an exploratory experience. Every turn in the river can provide such excellent opportunities to photograph. Sometimes there could be fast rapids and other locations could provide calm waters reflecting anything thats there on its banks.

This photograph was made during my second visit to the park this fall season. I made it a point to skip the usual locations which I already knew, but instead try to walk a lot and find new and interesting subjects to photograph. I was not disappointed, a short walk from the parking area brought me to this scene with stunning reflections.

There is some clutter in this frame, mostly to the left, but I tried to darken them in in post process, so that they don’t take away from the main subject (reflections). Cropping the frame would create undesired proportions which I was not comfortable with. Getting rid of this clutter while composing would have been tough as I was already at the edge of the river, which means I would have had to get into the water to get a clean composition. In the end, I decided there was some subtle symmetry even in this clutter to add to the overall image.

Let me know what you think!

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Reflected Trees, Yosemite National Park, CA

Reflected Trees, Yosemite National Park, California

Reflected Trees, Yosemite National Park, California

Isolated trees with some fall color, reflected in the stillness of the Merced river in Yosemite National Park, California

As you can see from my recent posts, I like to pick out details in the landscape. These details are not visible while driving in a car, so taking a hike along the river was what I did on this autumn morning. With walking you tend to spend more time with a subject, exploring all different possibilites, taking in all the details in the grand landscape.

I was attracted to this scene by the brightly backlit trees. The leaves were shimmering in the morning light and the reflections in this part of the park was just outstanding. I have one more photograph from this short walk that I want to share, but that’s for later. With reflections, the tendency would be to get a perfect symmetrical composition, but here I felt that a little more room in the bottom half would work better. 

The fall color with the dark background is something that is working very well in this photogrpah, but the quality of the light and the natural contrast, both made me wonder how this would look in black and white. So I’ve included the BW version below, let me know which one you like.

Black and White

Black and White

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Fall color along the Merced, Yosemite National Park, CA

Fall color along the Merced River Yosemite California

Fall color along the Merced River Yosemite California

Brightly colored fall leaves along the Merced river in Yosemite National Park, California. The river with it’s silky water flow provides a beautiful background for the leaves

Many things should fall into place to get this kind of shot. First, I had to find beautifully colored leaves along the banks of the river which was easy. But they cannot be at eye level since then, we cannot have the river in the background. So ideally we should be looking down at the leaves with the river flowing behind the leaves.

Next, the framing. It helps a lot if there is not much clutter around the hanging branches, like the one I found here. I looked through my 70-200 lens and isolated the branch. The river ws flowing from the lower right of the frame to the upper left, giving some diagonal movement.

It was an overcast day, with good diffused light all around, but the water did have some reflected glare on it. I used a circular polarizer to reduce that glare, which also enhanced the color in the leaves and gave the water a darkish color. I was fortunate enough to find a rough patch in the river, which while using a slow shutter speed provided the much needed texture in the water. Without it I think the water would be dull and dark.

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