OH wow, what a week! 5 solid days of shooting Yosemite National Park. A group of 2 participants allowed us to do what we wanted on a moments notice. And what a week it was!
Leana D. from the east coast, and Lem L., also from the east coast, arrived on Sunday afternoon, and no sooner did they set down their bags and we were out shooting! Neither Leana nor Lem had been to Yosemite and there were huge smiles on their faces. There were clouds drifting by, so Leana and I drove from the Yosemite Lodge to Tunnel View to meet Lem and on the way stopped at Valley View and shot these images.
Then, up to Tunnel View to meet Lem and wait for the sunset. Finally, the light became right:
It was time to eat, so we went to the Yosemite Lodge Food Court and had dinner, then out for night shooting at Lower Yosemite Fall, which was right across from the Lodge. And all this before the workshop actually began!
Then, it was out to Cook’s Meadow, across from Yosemite Falls for night shots of the falls.
Monday, March 9
Since we were out until almost midnight the night before, we slept in a bit and got started about 9:30am, and went back to Lower Yosemite Fall to shoot the rainbow. We discussed the use of polarizer filters to enhance colors in rainbows and to reduce glare thereby enhancing the detail in clouds and waterfalls. We used neutral density filters in combination with polarizers and small apertures to shoot timed exposures to produce the “cotton candy” effect on flowing water.
Then, after lunch we headed out to Cook’s Meadow for a few shots and over to the Merced River to shoot Stoneman Bridge and Half Dome.
Then, back to Cook’s Meadow, the chapel, and on to Swinging Bridge where Lem shot this great image of Upper Yosemite Fall.
Finally, we walked around behind the Yosemite Lodge on the bank of the Merced River to shoot these images in late afternoon sun. We discussed the use of split-density filters, bracketing exposures, and use of the histogram to gauge correct exposure.
Same image in black and white
We shot Half Dome and also a small grove of trees that framed nicely against the dark mountain.
We had originally scheduled Wednesday night as Photoshop night, but decided since we had such a volume of images this early, we would do it on Monday night. So, after dinner we set up the computers and spent about 3 hours on Photoshop instruction, including basic theory on layers, masking, and color correction, among other subjects.
Tuesday, March 6
Next day; Columbia Point. Seems the full moon was rising at 7pm, so we packed a few sandwiches and hiked the 1 mile trail (straight up) to Columbia Point and shot the sunset and moonrise. In the process I shot portraits:
Wednesday March 11
Off to Mirror Lake; Although Mirror Lake is no longer a lake it is a beautiful area to shoot; unusual angles on Half Dome, lots of flowing water to shoot, nice hike.
After dinner at the Ahwahnee, we went to El Cap Meadow and shot the moonrise on El Cap.
Thursday, March 12
Hike to Vernal Fall. The trail was closed beyond the JMT junction, so we could not get close, which limited the ability to shoot the fall, so we shot the Merced River instead and I shot some portraits of Leana at the bridge.
“The Rules” say that strong direct sunlight is not the best lighting for portraits; it creates too many high contrast shadows on the face, it makes the eyes squint, which in turn takes the best out of a person’s appearance. But in this case I felt there was a good setup; very dark background, and I felt I could mitigate the effects of strong shadows in Photoshop. Plus, Leana has a beautiful face, she smiles really well under any circumstance, so I captured some images to see what I could get. This was the best of the bunch, and I think it’s great.
After Vernal Fall, we ate dinner at the Yosemite Mountain Room and then headed out to Tunnel View to shoot stars. What fun! We had a blast standing in the cold doing timed exposures…
Friday, March 13
Today, Lem decided he wanted to hike the entire Yosemite Falls trail, all the way to the top, despite my admonition that it was not a good idea. He decided to go anyway, and Leana and I passed. So, we went to shoot Cascade Falls on Highway 120, then to the Yosemite Lodge Food Court for more Photoshop instruction.
We shot Bridalveil Fall as a freeze-frame and timed exposure. The timed exposures were done in bright sunlight, obviously, which necessitated stacking a 4-stop and 8-stop neutral density filters, and a polarizing filter and setting an aperture of 22 in order to be able to do the timed exposure of 5 seconds.
We shot the Ahwahnee Hotel, exteriors and interiors