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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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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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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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Light and Shadow on Water, Yosemite National Park, CA

Light and Shadow on Water, Yosemite National Park, CA

Light and Shadow on Water, Yosemite National Park, CA

I spent 2 beautiful days in Yosemite this past weekend and got to photograph water in the park.Water is by far the most prominent feature in the park this time of the year. Or I should say, especially this year, since the amount of water run-off from the snow melt is one of the largest in recent times

This one was shot along the Bridalveil Creek, just downstream from the thundering waterfall. Just prior to this, I had walked up to the viewing area without my camera, just to get soaked in the spray of water from the falls. I must say, on this summer day, it was extremely refreshing.

I spent a good amount of time here, getting the shutter speed right to have some texture in the water. With such fast flowing water, any slow shutter speed is not good enough to get the right details. It requires some experimentation in the field to get it right. In this very well written article by Michael Frye, he talks about an interesting aspect of photographing moving water, photographing many number of frames (possibly with different or even same settings), from the same spot and using the same composition, could lead to strikingly different results, just because of the very random nature of moving water.

Talking about this photograph, When I was looking for some interesting patterns along the stream, I found a particular section, where there was a sudden dip and then an immediate obstacle for the moving water. That should explain the curving shape in this frame. Sunlight was filtering down from the trees above and had partially lit the scene, with some very bright spots and some very intriguing shadows. Waiting for the right combination of the two should explain the rest of the photograph.

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