Sunday, November 13, 2011

Yosemite National Park - Part 1

#7D_0976:  Valley View - El Capitan on left and Cathedral Rocks on right from the the Merced River
(6 second exposure at f8, iso 100)
As most of my close friends know, I recently completed 6 months of cancer treatment and my wife and I celebrated with a 2-week trip to California.  The first week we visited three national parks:  Yosemite, Kings Canyon, and Sequoia;  and the second week was spent in and around San Francisco.  For all who may be wondering about me, I am fine as far as I know, and I will have periodic scans every few months to check and verify that I remain cancer free.   During this trip I was still a little worn down from the radiation treatments I had just finished 7 days before we left, and I had to stop and rest frequently during uphill hikes.  But in the next few weeks I should get my normal strength back, and hopefully I have seen the end of the lymphoma. 

#7D_1166:  Cathedral Rock - Photographed from a meadow north of the Merced River
(1/100 second at f9, iso 200)

My wife and I had never been to Yosemite or to San Francisco, so this was a special trip in several ways.  My main objective was to enjoy the beauty and try and get a few pictures at the same time.   Yosemite did not disappoint.  It is beautiful in every way and it is surely a place I will visit again in the future.  I plan to return in the summertime when there is higher water volume in the falls.  Since I was not in shape to do some of the longer hikes required to see Vernal Falls or Nevada Falls I was not planning to photograph them on this trip anyway.   There will be a better time for that when there is more water flowing, and when I'm back in shape and able to enjoy the long hikes.   I pre-planned where we would go to take pictures each morning and evening to take advantage of the good light.  In between those times, we explored the valley and photographed some places that were not so dependent on the light coming from any particular angle.  It was also fun to photograph some of the same places during the daytime, and then again under the stars at night.  In the next post, you will see some of the night time photos.

#N110735:  Coyote
(1/250 sec at f4.5, iso 400)
I had not expected to see much wildlife on this trip but to my surprise, we came upon a coyote one afternoon on the drive up to Glacier Point.   I was able to fire off a few shots out of the rolled down car window and I think the photo above is probably the best one.   I also took a few shots of a deer I saw when we stopped to photograph El Capitan.  Those two photos are below.

#N110810 - Deer
(1/160 second @ f2.8, iso 400)
#N110805:  El Capitan
(1/640 sec @ f4, iso 200, -2/3 EV)
The next image was taken from the swinging bridge. It shows Cathedral Rock in the distance, with the Merced River in the foreground. I really liked the contrast of colors in this scene.

#7D_1181:  View from the Swinging Bridge
(1/500 @ f6.3, iso 400)
Next is an image of Half Dome photographed from Cook's Meadow, with a large elm tree in the foreground.  From this location, you can see several of the notable Yosemite landmarks simply by looking in a different direction.

#7D_0906:  Half Dome from Cook's Meadow
(1/250 @ f8, iso 200, -1EV)
Next is a photo of El Capitan with its reflection in the Merced River, photographed from Cathedral Beach.  This image was difficult to capture and it took my widest lens, a 15mm fisheye, to fit the entire reflection in the frame.  Some of the barrel distortion from the lens has been removed in photoshop.  This was a very cold morning with temperatures in the 30's and after about an hour my numb fingers told me it was time to get back to the car and move on.

#N110571:  El Capitan from Cathedral Beach
(1/200 second @ f8, iso 100, 15mm fisheye lens)
Of course, no trip to Yosemite would be complete without the classic photo below taken from just outside the tunnel on highway 41, commonly referred to as 'tunnel view'.  This is probably the most commonly photographed scene at Yosemite.

#7D_1267:  Tunnel View
(1/500 @f7.1, iso 200, with 2-stop graduated neutral density filter)

In the next post, I will show some of the waterfalls and the night time photos, as well as some views from Glacier Point, looking down into the valley from above.


  1. These are just remarkable! I love the way you edit your you use Photoshop? Each one has such a surreal affect about it, like fine oil paintings, lovely presentation~

  2. Impressive pictures. You must've had a beautiful field trip. I also enjoyed the trip I had at Yosemite National Park with my friends. It was a unique experience, but I hope to be able to visit it again in the near future. It's really worth going all the way there for a nice quiet vacation.

  3. Awesome shots as always. Great that you got some bonus critters too! First shot is my fav. Blue Skies.