Each year, I have a go to destination that I want to visit for landscape photography, and this year it is Yosemite Valley. I have seen countless photos of the Valley draped in a fresh coating of snow, or shrouded in fog. Now I want one for myself. With the El Nino rains bringing plentiful snow to the Sierra, Yosemite has turned into a winter wonderland. Over the past few weeks, I have watched on the webcams as epic conditions unfold without being able to be there in person. I finally had the chance this past weekend. I did the 3.5 hours drive and arrived around lunch time to find some decent clouds remaining in the sky after a clearing rain storm. I made sure to photograph from Tunnel View first, since the light looked nice on El Capitan.
Later, I went on a few brief hikes through the Valley, but didn’t find any grand vistas that I liked, so instead, I focused on photographing the smaller things that many people drive right by without paying any attention to.
I loved how the green moss on this tree popped when contrasted against the rich brown bark of the tree. The moss really is this green!
I also really liked the luminous glow coming off of this tree that was lining one of the meadows in the Valley.
Around 3:45pm, I made my way back up to Tunnel View, as I noticed some rain clouds blowing back over the park. Not having any experience with a sunset shot from this location, I did not realize that it can become very crowded up to an hour before the magic hour. As a result of my inexperience, I went and set up my tripod thinking I would take a few shots and then get back in the car to stay warm as I waited for sunset to approach. Not long after I set up, two workshops with about 15 students each, plus all of the other people wanting to photograph the view staked their claim to the prime photo spots. Of course I had only come prepared with a light fleece, and my jacket was still in the car. I pretty much had resigned myself to shivering for the next hour so I wouldn’t lose my spot until I heard someone say my name. I turned around to see another photographer friend who I had shot with before in the Bay Area. Neither of us knew the other would be in Yosemite, so it was quite a coincidence. Thankfully, I was able to run to the car and get warmer clothes while he held down the fort for our two tripods.
We ended up seeing some nice fog form, but I still want to return to capture even more images of the park.
Tags: Bark, california, different perspective, El Capitan, Half Dome, Landscape Photography, Moody, Moss, Mountains, National Park, Photographers, Rain, Road Trip, Sierra, Snow, Tourists, Tree, Tunnel View, Winter, Yosemite