Thursday, July 16, 2015

Yosemite National Park In May - Part 7: Notes & Conclusions

Tunnel View Monochrome - Yosemite National Park, California
Nikon D3300, 1/13 (tripod used), f9, ISO 100, 5/10/15 at 7:42 PM, Nikkor 40mm lens.

I wanted to make a color photograph here. Sometimes in the evening the granite will glow with the sunset colors, but it didn't happen on this day. So I made a black-and-white image instead. I used the foreground trees to add a little more depth to the image.

It's hard to believe that I could make a seven-part series out of a two-day weekend getaway. But I captured so many exposures during this trip--just under 1,000, in fact. That's insane! I don't think I've ever made so many exposures in such a short period of time before.

I ended up with 75 finished photographs. That's not a big success rate. I expect that around 20% of my exposures will end up as finished photographs, and 80% will not. Typically I will capture anywhere from three to ten exposures of a scene in order to get it right. And sometimes a photograph just doesn't work out--the idea just wasn't strong enough or the lighting was all wrong.

I like to slow down my process and take a little care with each image captured. This trip, for whatever reason, I seemed to rush through the exposures a little more than usual. I still ended up with tons of good photographs, but a success rate that's less than 10% is not anything to be proud of. I could have made these same photographs with a lot fewer exposures, or perhaps came out of this trip with a bunch more successful images.
Water Replenishment - Fish Camp, California
Nikon D3300, 1/125, f8, ISO 400, 5/10/15 at 11:36 AM, Nikkor 40mm lens.

There is lots of contrast and a bit of atmosphere in this image. The story seems classic--this photograph could have been captured 80 years ago.
In this post you will find some of my favorite photographs, and also a few that may not be my favorites but I wanted to comment on them anyway. Two photographs were not included because I already talked about them in previous blog posts (here and here).

I used a Nikon D3300 DSLR on this trip, bringing along a Nikkor 40mm AF-S DX f/2.8G Micro lens and a Nikkor 55-200mm AF-S DX f/4-5.6G ED lens. A Nokia Lumia 1020 was used occasionally, as well. All of the photographs were captured using Alien Skin Exposure 7 software.

Thank you for being a part of this journey! I hope you enjoyed the photographs. It was a fantastic trip that yielded some memorable images.
Sequoia Forest - Yosemite National Park, California
Nikon D3300, 1/125, f10, ISO 500, 5/10/15 at 1:43 PM, Nikkor 40mm lens.

I liked the red tree trunks color-contrasted with the green foliage. The image makes it seem as though the scene was remote, but it wasn't. What you can't see are the people and vehicles just out of the bottom of the frame. Photography is about subtraction--less is more.
Dogwood Bloom - Yosemite National Park, California
Nikon D3300, 1/125, f8, ISO 320, 5/10/15 at 2:09 PM, Nikkor 40mm lens.
I kept seeing blossomed dogwoods as we drove into the park, and I hoped to find a good opportunity to photograph one. This just happened to work out. We stopped to tend to our youngest son, and I noticed this tree. The contrast was great, and I was able to get a good exposure of it.
Curry Meadow - Yosemite National Park, California
Nikon D3300, 1/125, f9, ISO 140, 5/10/15 at 4:53 PM, Nikkor 40mm lens.

This is a very simple scene (a line of trees, a little grass in the foreground, and some distant rocks), but contrast and some back-light make it interesting. Yosemite Falls can be seen in the background in the upper right of the frame.
Glacier Point Infrared - Yosemite National Park, California
Nikon D3300, 1/500, f9, ISO 100, 5/10/15 at 4:54 PM, Nikkor 40mm lens.

This is a dramatic and moody seen, captured from the exact same spot and time as Curry Meadow above. Literally, I turned and snapped. I gave it an infrared look to exaggerate the contrast.
Half Dome Reflection - Yosemite National Park, California
Nikon D3300, 1/125, f9, ISO 320, 5/10/15 at 5:01 PM, Nikkor 40mm lens.

I found this reflection of Half Dome in the Merced River not far from Curry Village. It took some playing around in post-processing to get it to look right because the original exposure was pretty flat. I added a bunch of contrast and color saturation and some other tweaks.
Washington Column Infrared - Yosemite National Park, California
Nikon D3300, 1/320, f9, ISO 100, 5/10/15 at 5:05 PM, Nikkor 40mm lens.

I gave this image an infrared look to make it more dramatic. The "x" under the cloud are contrails. If I wanted to I could remove those with a clone stamp. But when you are going through nearly a thousand exposures, sometimes it is better just to ignore small imperfections.
Half Dome From Curry Village - Yosemite National Park, California
Nikon D3300, 1/200, f9, ISO 100, 5/10/15 at 5:21 PM, Nikkor 40mm lens.

I used the foreground trees to add depth, scale and contrast to this scene. Half Dome has been photographed from every angle, so it can be difficult to create something that looks unique.
Dogwood Bloom - Yosemite National Park, California
Nikon D3300, 1/125, f6.3, ISO 1400, 5/10/15 at 6:41 PM, Nikkor 40mm lens.

This is a springtime version of a photograph I made last autumn. I thought it would be interesting to capture the same exact scene in opposite seasons.
Holga 35mm North Dome & Washington Column - Yosemite National 
Park, California
Nikon D3300, 1/160, f11, ISO 100, 5/11/15 at 9:37 AM, Nikkor 40mm lens.

I made this image appear as if it had been captured using a Holga camera loaded with 35mm film. While I own a Holga camera and I have used it with 35mm film, this was all done using software tricks.
Washington Column - Yosemite National Park, California
Nikon D3300, 1/640, f9, ISO 100, 5/11/15 at 9:44 AM, Nikkor 55-200mm lens at 60mm.

I really like the tones and contrast in this photograph. The sky is white (yet not without details) and the stone is dark. The trees at the bottom add depth and interest.
Tree In The Meadow - Yosemite National Park, California
Nikon D3300, 1/100, f8, ISO 100, 5/11/15 at 9:53 AM, Nikkor 40mm lens.

Simple scenes like this can be found throughout Yosemite. It's nothing more than a tree in a meadow with some morning light illuminating it.


The Happy Isles Trail - Yosemite National Park, California
Nikon D3300, 1/250, f5.6, ISO 100, 5/11/15 at 12:25 PM, Nikkor 40mm lens.

There were plenty of people on this trail, and when I noticed that it was briefly empty I snapped this as quickly as I could. Not a couple of seconds later some people appeared and were in the next frame exposed. That might have been interesting, but I wanted to express solitude, so I was happy to capture Happy Isles Trail without strangers in the image. 
Half Dome From Mirror Lake - Yosemite National Park, California
Nikon D3300, 1/200, f8, ISO 100, 5/11/15 at 12:56 PM, Nikkor 40mm lens.

Tones and contrast are what makes monochrome work, which you'll find plenty of in this image. But what I find most interesting are the curves--almost wave-like--that seem to flow like an ocean. The large rock is also looming, creating an uneasy feeling. 
Mirror Lake Color Infrared - Yosemite National Park, California
Nikon D3300, 1/125, f10, ISO 450, 5/11/15 at 1:02 PM, Nikkor 40mm lens.

I made this photograph appear to have been captured using Kodak Ektachrome HIE infrared color film. It was the only way to make something interesting with the exposure, which lacked good light.
Infrared Tree In Cook's Meadow - Yosemite National Park, California
Nikon D3300, 1/125, f10, ISO 180, 5/11/15 at 2:15 PM, Nikkor 40mm lens.

 I liked the way that Mirror Lake Color Infrared turned out, so I gave this exposure a similar post-processing treatment. This tree has been photographed many times over, but this may be one of the more unique images of it.
Spires From Yosemite Falls Trail - Yosemite National Park, California
Nikon D3300, 1/250, f9, ISO 100, 5/11/15 at 2:37 PM, Nikkor 55-200mm lens at 55mm.

The back-light is what makes this image work because it allows the great tones to show. It reminds me of a different photograph I captured in Yosemite, but this one isn't quite as good.
Upper And Lower Falls - Yosemite National Park, California
Nikon D3300, 1/125, f9, ISO 100, 5/11/15 at 3:13 PM, Nikkor 40mm lens.

This is a scene that's been captured probably hundreds of thousands of times.  It's nothing unique, but hopefully it is a good photograph, anyway.

A Yosemite Falls Trail View - Yosemite National Park, California
Nikon D3300, 1/125, f11, ISO 640, 5/11/15 at 3:19 PM, Nikkor 40mm lens.

Captured from almost the exact same place as the image above, this photographs is more interesting and unique. Hiding in the back, visible only through a small hole between the trees, is a Cathedral Spire. There's a blossomed dogwood in the foreground. The curved tree guides the viewer between the left and right sides of the image.
Yosemite Valley View of Half Dome - Yosemite National Park, California
Nikon D3300, 1/250, f11, ISO 100, 5/11/15 at 3:37 PM, Nikkor 40mm lens.

A contrasty, dramatic look at Half Dome. The clouds are what makes this image interesting. The dark trees help keep the viewer's eyes toward the granite. 
Tree & Half Dome - Yosemite National Park, California
Nikon D3300, 1/125, f11, ISO 100, 5/11/15 at 3:41 PM, Nikkor 55-200mm lens at 55mm.

This is probably the most photographed tree in Yosemite, and this is probably one of the most captured scenes in Yosemite. Everyone who visits Yosemite, it seems, creates a similar image.
Pioneer Cabin - Yosemite National Park, California
Nikon D3300, 1/125, f8, ISO 360, 5/11/15 at 5:46 PM, Nikkor 40mm lens.

Smoke from the chimney filled the air. The evening light through the trees created the visible rays. Lots of good atmosphere here. I like the feeling of this image, which matches what it was like to be there at that moment.

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