Saturday, April 13, 2013


My plans at this point are to stay here at least a year and a half. That way I can photograph all four seasons and also have two summers to backpack. Other then medicine my true loves are photography, backpacking and fishing. I can do all three here in Yosemite.

Years ago I was a professional photojournalist and covered concerts and the music industry, professional sports and travel. Now all I want to do is work on my photography again. It is one of the main reasons I returned to Yosemite.

At this point I have categorized all my photographs from my travels while on ships and it left me with 4,127 pictures and I threw away many more then I kept. Now I need to do a “hard” edit and then work on my favorites in the “digital darkroom.” At some point I will start working on a couple photography books, one on my travels while on ships and another book on Yosemite.

First I would like to say that there are thousands if not tens of thousand of very good photographers in the world. I am certainly no expert but at one time in my life I was a professional photojournalist and made a living taking pictures of professional sports, concerts and doing travel photography and writing articles. There are many that are much better then I am but I would like to think that I do have some talent. With that said I will give a few hints and thoughts on how I like to take pictures and maybe you will find some useful information.

My first hint to those that are photographing outdoors is to under expose by at least 2/3’s of a stop.  This is called “exposing for the highlights”. With a normal exposure the clouds and sky will be washed out. This is especially true in Yosemite because of the high granite walls that reflect a lot of light. Without this compensation not only will the clouds and sky be washed out but much of the granite walls and the waterfalls as well. Don’t be alarmed if parts of the photograph look a little dark in places, in Lightroom you can bring up the detail in the shadows.

Neither of these photographs were altered. This is how they came out of the camera...

Note how Yosemite Falls is "blown out".
You barely can tell it is there.

Here I underexposed 2/3's of a stop.
Even though there is more detail the photo is a bit flat...

So on this photograph I did some very minor adjustments
I slightly increased the exposure, contrast and saturation

Another hint is to have patience….lots and lots of patience. Wait for the “light” to be just right. There are times that I have sat a couple hours or more waiting for the sunset to be just right, a storm to come through or the light to cast itself on certain areas. This is all part of a photograph being a “good” photograph or having it become a “great” photograph. Ansel Adams who was certainly one of the best photographers in the world at times would camp out for days waiting for just the right moment to click the shutter.

This shot was taken on Hwy 120 near the Foresta Road. It gives slightly different view El Capitan of Half Dome that you see from the valley

The light is very soft here as the storm starts to roll through.
There is not much contrast on the walls and not much in the way of clouds.

Here the clouds are more pronounced and
the light has shifted on the trees in the foreground

This shot was taken in Teneya Canyon near Hidden Falls. It is a nice shot and I do like it but by waiting for the sun to lower you get a much different photograph

Mid afternoon in Teneya Canyon

Late afternoon as the shadows begin to fall in Teneya Canyon

And here is the iconic view Yosemite Valley from Tunnel View. But even here or maybe I should say especially here the different time of day and weather conditions can change a photograph.

This was taken when I first arrived at Tunnel View

And this shot is from the exact same place,
I never moved the camera a few hours later

Living in Yosemite is a photographer’s paradise. One major advantage I have in living here is I can visit the same place at different times of day or different seasons. A place will have a totally different feel at dawn, in the morning, in the afternoon and in the evening.

Use this to your advantage. Visit places that you have photographed at different times of the day; it can make or break a photograph again it can turn and average photograph into a work of art.

Here are some examples of photographing Bridalveil Falls at different times of the day.

Mid Day

Late Afternoon

10 pm

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