Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Olmsted Point

If you have ever been to Yosemite National Park, you certainly recognize one of the iconic features of the park, called Half Dome. There are many places in the park which present you a view of Half Dome. In this image, I took this shot of Half Dome from Olmsted Point, along the higher elevation of Yosemite, on the Tioga Pass (Rte. 120).

Now, the challenge of photographing Half Dome is trying to find a different view of it. In this case, I went the opposite direction. Instead of being predictable and heading down to the overlook, I instead walked across the street from the parking lot and up the granite hill. I put my 135mm telephoto prime lens on, walked around the granite a few minutes and then saw this view.

Now, anyone who has been to Olmsted Point, will certainly recognize yet another iconic feature in this photo. In this case, it is the pine tree that grows right out of the granite, very close to the parking lot. It is a magnet for point-and-shoot amateur photographers and tourists. The challenge with that icon is just taking a pic of it without tourists all around it, posing all weird, and whatever else.

I shot this photo late in the afternoon. I really like the sun backlighting, slightly from the right side, the pine tree. The huge granite slope in the shade behind it really makes the pine tree stand out. Lurking behind that granite hill, is of course, Half Dome.

I took this approach, after the clouds started dispersing, leaving a blank sky. Therefore, I needed to find a way to fill the frame up well. I think I have accomplished that. I can't recall anyone else using this perspective of the 2 icons, at Olmsted Point.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Tioga Pass Autumn Splendor

Here is a photo taken just as the storm was moving in. I again took this just a few miles outside the entrance to Yosemite National Park, on CA Rte. 120, otherwise known as the Tioga Pass. This is along a turn-out. I stopped here when I saw the aspens back and side lit by the sunshine. That light disappeared within 2 minutes after this photo was taken.

The peaks of these mountains really caught my attention as well, and were vital in how I was going to compose this shot. I like how the peaks from left to right kept ascending. I also liked the little blue sky opening above the tallest peak, in this photo.

There was a lot of dynamics happening in this image. You had the brilliant foliage of the aspens, the recent snow on the mountains, and the storm clouds moving in. A definite sense that the seasons are changing.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Aspen Surprise

This week, I am off Monday for the Columbus Day holiday and this week is my scheduled off Friday. Therefore, I decided to take the entire week off. I decided to take a drive up US Rte. 395 along the Eastern Sierras for my first visit this far north, along the 395.

Now, after seeing all the aspen photos on the photo forums this autumn and years past, I finally decided to join the fun and see it for myself, and of course, take a "few' pics...here and there. So why is this blog entry an "Aspen Surprise?"

Well, I hadn't really began my hunt for the aspens quite yet. That's why. I saw that the color was pretty much late in many areas this fall and the few areas that did have color, were overrun with photographers. Therefore, I was putting off the "aspen hunt" for a few days, to give the aspen leaves a few more days to become more yellow. Right now, I have seen a lot of green aspen leaves mixed with some yellow. But, I had hardly seen much of the yellow-vivid orange aspens. Only sparse amounts, which weren't worth the effort.

So, on my first full day up here, I decided to do Mono Lake for sunrise and then head over to Bodie State Historic Park and spend the day there and then head into Yosemite National Park, and perhaps do sunset at Olmsted Point. Well, that was the plan and I was able to do most of it, except Olmsted Point.

The day started out clear, of course, for our sunrise, no clouds in sight and no pastel hues right before sunrise. So it was just an average sunrise at Mono Lake this morning. Of course, after that, the clouds started appearing. Now, it made for a great day of photography. Puffy white clouds sprinkling the sky and giving spotty sun lights and some diffuse light, as well. The sky was not boring. So I figured that sunset was going to be great and with the clouds, I thought, Olmsted Point would be a great place to be for it, with the dynamic sky.

So, I started driving up Tioga Pass (rte 120 heading into Yosemite). As I am driving, I am about 5 miles from the entrance booth, when I spot this brilliant aspen grove off to my side and pulled the car off the side of the road abruptly. The aspens were backlit and really popping. Not 5 minutes there, the gray clouds moved in and the rains came shortly after that. But, what it did do was diffuse the entire scene and the colors were vibrant, since the sun was not washing them out.

Therefore, the surprise was of all the places where the aspen color was still green, the one hot spot was heading into Yosemite, which is definitely not known for it's fall aspen foliage. An aspen surprise, to say the least.

About Me

San Diego, California, United States
Thanks for checking out my photography blog. I am a photographer from America's finest city, San Diego, California. This blog is just a regular update of what I am photographing or what catches my fancy, when I am out and about with my camera. So subscribe and stay up-to-date with my latest photographic adventures.


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