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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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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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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.

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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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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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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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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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Snow, Trees and the Merced, Yosemite National Park, CA

Snow and Trees, Yosemite National Park

Snow and Trees, Yosemite National Park - Canon_5D_MarkII-17-40mm-F18-.05s-ISO100

Click on photo to enlarge

“Yosemite Valley blanketed in fresh snow the morning after a snow storm cleared. This photograph was shot along the merced river close to El Capitan bridge, giving the viewers just a glimpse of how the park looks when covered in snow”

I spent a wonderful weekend in Yosemite couple of months back. It was my first time in the valley while it was snowing, first time seeing the valley completely blancketed in snow, first time installing tire chains, first time walking thigh deep in snow, in other words, I completely enjoyed it.

This was shot the day after a snow storm dumped fresh snow in the valley. I arrived in the valley the day before while hoping that the storm could possibly clear at around sunset. While conditions looked grim, as landscape photographers, all we can do is hope for that magic. Much to my wife’s dismay (it was really cold outside), we waited at a location pointing my camera at the El Capitan, hoping that there be some light at sunset. But right around sunset it started to snow, rather heavily. My hopes of getting any image like the one I got last year (see here) was lost. The storm cleared overnight and left us with some beautiful white landscape and clear blue skies.

I had visited this very same spot during the fall season and captured this (Autumn Morning) shot. The thought of getting a snow covered tree reflected in the Merced was enough to make me walk in knee deep snow to reach this location. Although, I was hoping for beautiful reflections throughout the frame, I am actually happy how this turned out with some ice in the foreground.

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Shoreline, Crater Lake National Park, OR

Shoreline, Crater Lake, Oregon

Shoreline, Crater Lake, Oregon

(Click on the image to view large on black (lightbox))

Early morning warm light hitting the inner slopes of Crater Lake. The partially melted snow along the banks create a pleasing weaving pattern emphasizing the reflective quality of the water

As promised, this is my favorite image from Crater Lake that I have. It takes some time for the rising sun to hit the western slopes and reach the water below. By western slopes I mean ‘The Watchman” right behind the Wizard Island.  It was fun to watch the orange glow hit the Watchman and then progressively reach down and touch the water below. If you don’t know what the Watchman or the Wizard island is, then click the thumbnail.

Since this was summer, sunrise was at 5:15 AM. On most days I would be fast asleep at this time, but I don’t know what got into me on a Friday evening that I decided to drive non-stop all night and reach Crater Lake for the sunrise. 5 – 6 photo shoot, and then I was fast asleep in the parking lot next to the visitor cafe.

This particular scene caught my eyes as the sun started lighting up the slopes. The distinct shoreline is made visible mainly because of the partially melted snow, showing the dark soil. The contrast between the snow, the dark soil and the shimmering reflections creates some beautiful patterns.

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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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