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...
Year End Trip to Death Valley

Year End Trip to Death Valley

Death Valley is one of my favorite National Parks to visit for a number of reasons. Its beauty and remoteness is one reason, but the diversity of things to photograph is what keeps me coming back. Realizing that it had been over a year since my last visit, I planned a 4 day weekend road trip down to the desert. I left early on a Friday morning, and began the long 8 hour drive. The drive was uneventful and smooth sailing until I was about one hour away from my destination. It was at this point that I realized that I had forgotten my tripod. After all of the planning and packing that went into a 4 day photography trip, I had forgotten the one tool that would allow me to take photos at sunrise, sunset, and after dark. If you have ever experienced that sinking feeling, that is how I felt. I immediately pulled over on the side of the road, in the middle of nowhere, and attempted to make a call home. No signal… I continued to drive, eyeing my phone until two bars appeared, in a seemingly even more remote location, and I eased my way onto the gravel shoulder of the lonely road. After making a few phone calls, I was able to connect with someone who was able to help me. Fortunately, after about an hour of brainstorming, it was decided that Fedexing my tripod overnight to Las Vegas would be the best possible solution. I continued on my way to Death Valley knowing that I had some extra mileage to put on the...