Photographing Yosemite Valley

Photographing Yosemite Valley

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...
Using a Drone to Photograph Creatively

Using a Drone to Photograph Creatively

I’ve been flying drones, and experimenting with them as a photography tool for the past few years, but I wasn’t enamored with the quality of photos I was coming home with in the earlier model I was flying. As I waited for the optics to improve on prosumer drones, I took up the hobby of kite aerial photography, which enabled me to loft a quality camera with RAW capabilities several hundred feet into the air. The camera would dangle around aimlessly in the wind (granted I could position it within an approximate area by walking with the kite), and would take several hundred photos in a short period of time. If one or two of those photos turned out worthy of processing, it was a good outing. I enjoyed this rare and unique way of photographing the earth from above, but I was starting to get¬†wary of the constant waiting for a perfect wind day, in which the wind needed to be above 8mph but below 20mph. And I definitely was tiring of the draining exercise of pulling hundreds of feet of kite line back to earth to retrieve the kite at the end of a photo session. As I became¬†more active on Instagram, I noticed that there were some incredible photos being taken by drones. I was still circumspect about the actual image quality, considering that a photo on Instagram is displayed no larger than a few inches in size. I reached out to one of the drone pilots I was following and asked how the resolution was, and whether he would be kind enough to share a...