The weather in Yosemite National Park is not what was predicted last week. We were anticipating fresh snow and lots of it. What we have is fresh rain and lots of it. So much rain, in fact, that several of the access roads into Yosemite are closed, including one major closure due to rock and mud slides. We’ve received numerous emergency flash flood warnings on our iPhones but the inclement weather is not keeping us from photographing the gorgeous Yosemite Valley.
Wednesday afternoon between storms, the clouds were so low they surrounded the mountains and at times almost obscured the thundering flows of Upper and Lower Yosemite Falls, dry only last week. This photograph of the low clouds surrounding the falls with the sky finally turning blue after two days of total gray, is one of the last photographs I took late Wednesday afternoon. Soon after, the gorgeous light disappeared and intermittent raindrops became constant.
Using Nikon’s new Nikkor 500mm PF lens is a dream. But, I never dreamed I’d be using it for landscape photographs. It is proving to be a vital addition to my camera bag for landscape, and here in Yosemite National Park, it’s getting lots of landscape practice before I use it for its intended purpose, bird photography. While I await my next bird trip in a couple of weeks, I’m discovering that this long lens can be a creative way to showcase many of the iconic views here from a different perspective. While we were at Tunnel View Tuesday morning, Bridal Veil Falls was dwarfed by the massive granite features around it. It appears as a small white line on the rock face. In my photograph, taken with the 500mm lens, I was able to isolate the falls from the peaks surrounding it and get the entire falls in the frame.
Finishing the photograph in black and white with assistance from Moose Peterson during our Digital Darkroom session, in a few steps this photograph changed from ordinary to wow!
Before the rain started Tuesday afternoon, we visited a meadow that stretches out toward Half Dome. We were just a few feet away from the Yosemite Half Dome WebCam that is situated on the eaves of a park employee’s home. The clouds were scudding by quickly so we took the opportunity to take long exposures using the Breakthrough 6 stop filter to blur the clouds.
ISO 31; 34 seconds; f/20 at 24mm.
One of Yosemite’s iconic views is from Tunnel View, looking out over the Yosemite Valley at El Capitan, Cloud’s Rest, and Half Dome. We arrived before sunrise to see the saddle and Half Dome powdered with fresh snow. It took a bit of prodding from Moose but I finally attached my new Nikkor 500 mm lens and captured this shot as the rising sun colored the clouds.
On our first morning in Arches National Park, we watched the moon set as the sunrise colored the sky.
While we were at Double Arch in Arches National Park a couple of weeks ago, I wandered over to an out of the way boulder because something on it caught my attention. A patch of lichen and a small crease on the rock beneath it looked to me like a stemmed flower laying across the rock.
We had such good fortune at Chugach State Park in Anchorage, Alaska when we were there last month. The bull moose were close enough to capture spectacular images and they were active, sparring and eating and even drinking from Campbell Creek. This thirsty bull drank and drank and drank while we stood directly across the creek.
Imagination can run wild in Arches National Park. The red rock turrets and arches and walls have so much texture and character that detail shots can be as magnificent as the iconic views of the windows and arches. The sheer wall of red rock that lined the trail to Pine Tree Arch had so much interest on its face that it took us quite some time to walk the short distance from the trailhead to the arch. This is one example.
Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays the birds in my neighborhood from using my garden “spa.” It is a rare day, indeed, that I don’t see either a hummingbird or a hermit thrush or a scrub jay or a mockingbird or a lesser goldfinch or a bushtit splashing in it. Lately, the bubble in the middle doesn’t spew as high as it should but that doesn’t seem to bother the birds, especially the bushtits that congregate en masse atop the “spa.” I was outside testing my new Nikon 500mm PF lens when the bushtits noisily descended. Only a couple were left by the time I moved close enough to capture this shot of a female bushtit sitting atop the bubble while a companion waits her turn.