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The Moss and the Tree

Throughout Yosemite, even in the middle of winter, the moss clings to life with a brilliant green hue. Stuck on rocks, pathways and trees it shows its face as if to remind you that even in the harshest of places… life finds a way.

Stumbled upon this shot as I was looking to find a decent macro to shoot. This almost anemone like moss, clinging to the side of this huge tree… whose bark, made for the perfect background.

The Merced River in Winter

If it’s possible to offer a “tip-of-the-ole” hat to Ansel Adams… this is my attempt. No iconic El Capitan, or Half Dome shot. Just a quiet place along the Merced river where nature just goes about its business. The tree seemingly embedded in the river on the right of the frame is what originally caught my eye.

Yosemite is so full of color that it seems almost painful to convert images to black and white. But I have found that the absence of color changes the mood in the photographs from here. Maybe its the Adams influence on us, I’m not sure. For instance in this image the trees, the water, the rocks seem more important in black and white. The live in the frame, vs being lost in the greenery had the conversion not taken place. I love black and white images as they ask you the viewer to fill in the blanks, to use your mind’s eye and see into the image – soak in the textures, the shades of gray and draw your own conclusions on the reality of the place captured… lots to think about here…

Enjoy, and Happy Friday!


El Caps Profile

A quick snap of El Caps’ profile. Amazing color. And such a dominant “rock” in Yosemite Valley.

Finished this in Lightroom 3 and Photoshop CS3 using NIK’s Filters (tonal contrast, darken lighten center and glamour glow). I really like how Glamour Glow softened the “hardness” of the rock… gave it a bit more pop (as photographers say!). Didn’t apply to the trees… wanted the environment surrounding El Capitan to remain sharp.


Daybreak: Yosemite Park

There is something about those first few moments before dawn breaks. The sky begins to lighten, the dark blue of night begins to fade… The horizon begins to brighten intensely as the promise of a new day unfolds from 93,000,000 miles away.

There is something about those moments when the darkness begins to be chased away. I think biologically there is a trigger inside us from our early days that says “the scary night is ending, you can breathe a bit easier..”

Standing there… alot crosses your mind as you feel very close to nature and the universe, as if you get to peer into its ticking components for a moment or two… and Mother Nature reveals a little secret… glad I got to share this one with you.


P.S. Thats Half Dome to the left… love how the light wraps its arms around the landscape… click the image to see it bigger and have a great weekend!

It’s Just Freakin Massive!

That’s the only way to describe Yosemite Falls. This is the base of the Upper Falls where the water cascades down 1,400 or so feet and lands with a roar.For perspective, I am about 6’2″. In this shot I’m not even sure you would even be able to resolve me in this image. It’s that BIG! From here, the water churns into the middle falls, before diving again into Lower Yosemite Falls.

Amazing to think how these trees and scrub fight for life on this shelf of granite. Nothing protecting them from the elements but the pure will and drive to live. Nature at its best here in this photo. Its one of those indelible memories locked in my head from this visit to this fantastic place.

Trees in the Mist

One really neat thing about Yosemite is the ghostly mists… They come and go as if they had a life of their own. You’ll be walking through the park and not see any, turn a bend and an entire field will be shrouded in white diffused light… and within minutes its gone again. I love how the mist clings to the ground and ends up in various layers as it dissipates into the warming sun.


P.S. finished this using NIK’s Color Efex Pro ( foliage, tonal contrast, glamour glow and believe it or not, a Graduated Neutral Denisty filter to darken the top of the trees… juuuust a touch 🙂


When you really stop and think about all the movement going on in the Universe you can end up making yourself dizzy. Moon revolves around the earth, which revolves around the sun, which revolves around the center of the the Milky Way which is spinning its way who knows where. Like I said, alot of movement going on.

Here you have the Moon rising, and the sun setting, while Half Dome, that rather large hunk of granite sits still (although, its really moving with the Earth’s revolutions…) Amazing that with all these things in motion, we can capture a still photo 🙂

But I like this shot… for many reasons, the alpen glow on the distant mountaintops, the Man-in-the-Moon captured with detail, the sky with an amazing blend of color as day gives in to twilight which shortly will fade to night. This is the magic hour in photography where light really shines and does its thing.


Abstract Water

Swirling light, and moving water make for some interesting photographs. Here, similar to my Golden Water post, the light from El Capitan is reflecting off a river’s surface to give it a golden hue… in addition, the rapids force the water to swirl, churn and boil… All caught in a fraction of a second.


Valley View in Black & White

One of the most amazing things about Yosemite is how easy it is to get a great shot. Literally… for this one, walked from the car about 20 feet, set up on the banks of the Merced River, took a 4 frame HDR panorama consisting of about 20 images in total… folded up the tripod and went back to the lodge to enjoy a warm hot cocoa… 🙂

Well, everything but the warm hot cocoa was right, I stood around and shot a few more hundred frames… something I’m a bit paranoid about doing, since you never know when I might make it back, although I am already turning the pages of the calendar forward to see when my feet can land in Yosemite again. Its really that magical.

Like I said, 4 frame pano, set to 5 bracketed exposures each… 20 total images. Brought into Photomatix Pro 4, cleaned it up in Photoshop and then finished it using NIK’s Silver Efex Pro. The longest part of the process is waiting for those sets of 5 to be “churned out” in the Photomatix “Matrix” (hmmm… maybe a recommendation for the next upgrade).

As with some of the other shots from Yosemite, I wish the sky had a bit more “drama”.. some angry birds, errr, I mean clouds would have been nice… but, when you are here, you get what you get and don’t get upset. After all, half the fun of shooting landscapes is showing up, rolling the bones, and seeing where they land.


The Falls and a Rainbow

I think few people realize just how big Upper & Lower Yosemite falls are… over 2,400 feet top to bottom, which makes the falls a top 10 highest fall in the world. The amazing thing is Upper falls alone (shown here), is taller than the Empire State Building by some 150 feet.

Dazzling isn’t it?

The unfortunate thing is that this still image doesn’t capture the “roar” of the water spilling this great distance. When you are close you can feel the bass in your chest… the constant-ness of it differs from the usual sounds you hear with pounding surf which has a rhythm to it… this just goes and goes and goes…

I love the “S” curve of the falls in this image… as the wind kicks up the water free-forms in the air and the entire falls sways and dances before your eyes. Could spend all day here just watching the majesty of it all…