Visiting Yosemite for the First Time


I had the good fortune to attend a landscape photography work shop with the Professional Photographers of California a few weeks ago in the majestic Yosemite National Park!  It was three days of having my breath taken away in awe of this amazing place.

The workshop was lead by Master Photographer, Photographic Craftsman, Certified Professional Photographer and American Society of Photographers Fellow – Dennis Hammon and his wife Cheri Hammon who is also a Master Photographer, Photographic Craftsman, Master of Electronic Imaging, Master Artist, and Certified Professional Photographer.  So lots of experience between the two in the world of professional photography.

The black and white picture above was the first image I made in Yosemite.  We got up early, like 3:45AM early, and that is why I’ll never be a landscape photographer.  Anyway we got up early to get to this view point at Tunnel View.  Our goal was to get a sunrise shot coming over the Yosemite Valley with Bridal Veil Falls in the foreground.  However it was a bit cloudy and overcast, perfect for a black and white photographer like me, but no so colorful for the color people.  None the less this view still had me in awe!  The falls were roaring and it had been reported that there hadn’t been water like this in Yosemite in decades.  Thank you Mother Nature for the epic winter you bestowed on the Sierra Nevada this past winter.  When we originally booked this trip back in August of last year we didn’t know that we would have any water falls after the 5 years of drought we’ve had in the West.

We went on to explore other areas of the park that were open to the public, as many parts were still closed because of the winter specifically Glacier Point.  We drove up highway 120 to this next spot which was Cascade Falls.  The clouds were really starting to move in on us, but I was able to make this exposure with my 4×5 Sinar F2 camera before the scene was fully engulfed.  The flowing water was amazing to watch and listen too and I just couldn’t help but wonder how much was flowing by us each second!

The next day several of us could not do the 3:45AM wake up call so we decided to spend some time exploring the area where we were staying, the Wywona area Yosemite.  We found a little informational area that contained some structures from the old west along with this covered bridge.  I risked going down the embankment with a tripod and the 4×5 camera, but again it was worth the effort to make this exposure using a 90mm lens.  It was still an overcast morning, but we would find the weather to cooperate later in the day when we would again return to Tunnel View for a sunset excursion.

The color picture that starts this post along with this black and white, warm toned exposure were exactly the kind of shots I had hoped to make on my first trip to Yosemite.  They aren’t original by any stretch and there were 60 or so photographers enjoying and capturing this exact same shot as me, but I was able to create this image for me ands use many of the metering techniques I’d been studying for the past several months along with using the 25A red filter for the black and white shot to enhance the clouds and darken the sky.  It was truly a memorable evening spent with friends admiring the beauty of all this magical place.

This is the last shot I made of Yosemite as we were heading home on Monday morning.  This is Yosemite falls and board walk in the meadows area.  We had visited this area on Saturday afternoon, but the falls were shrouded in clouds and part of the walk way was submerged in runoff from the snowmelt, however the cool temperatures over the weekend hand slowed the melt a bit and allowed part of this walk way to come back into view.  I loved how it directs the eye right to the falls!  The sound of the falls from this spot sounded like roaring thunder from the water falling so far and with so much of it!  I truly enjoyed every minute of my brief first trip to Yosemite, but rest assured I’ll be back one day to see some of the other iconic areas of this beautiful National Park!



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