Nex Up: Winter in Yosemite

Started 7 months ago | Photos thread
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David Wyman
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Nex Up: Winter in Yosemite
7 months ago

This year I've posted some images of Manhattan and Route 66. Here are some more, from Yosemite National Park, where I spent a few very pleasant days this past week.

Yosemite is about to experience significant weather, after a long lack of rainfall. That meant sunny days for me, although clouds would have been nice, too. All that light gave me a chance, however, to photograph, among other subjects, Yosemite's natural "fire fall" and a rainbow.

I had much fun with my NEX-7 (soon to be an A6000?), with a few lenses, including the 10-18mm and the 18-55mm. I have a focal reducer and used it with an awesome 75-150mm Nikon lens, like the one Galen Rowell , my culture hero, carried with him; it's a straight-through f/3.5 lens, and the focal reducer gave me even more light.

I also tried out my Tokina 400mm lens, which did well. I had a serious problem with my Nikon 70-300mm non-VR lens, which captured grotesque amounts of chromatic aberration. I doubt I'll use it again on my NEX.

The little NEX is wonderfully light, compared to my massive DSLR gear. I didn't mind carrying the camera by a neck strap with either of my Sony lenses; I mostly used the Nikon/Tokina optics with a tripod, although the 75-150mm zoom was easy to use in my hand.

At this time of year, the park isn't particularly crowded. It was especially empty with the lack of snow for the skiers who like Yosemite; much of the time I found myself almost or completely alone in several locations, from the pioneer cemetery to restaurants to classic viewpoints of El Capitan and Half Dome. And the temperatures by day were very pleasant. It felt more like a spring or early summer day than the middle of winter in North America.

The natural fire fall off the east side of the massive El Capitan cliff. The last light of the day, during the last two weeks of February, will turn the granite wall red. Many photographers probably stayed away from the park this year because there were reports of almost no water flowing over the cliff, which most photographers think - wrongly - is necessary to turn the wall red.

Just enough water flowed over El Capitan this year to appear in a photo. The water, looking like molten lava, was lit from behind by rocks turned red in the setting sun. I have a secret spot, on the south side of Yosemite Valley, from which I like to photograph the fire fall. There are only a few known locations to make a photo of the event, and often groups of photographers have to negotiate for space to set up their gear. This year, it was just me and three other photographers (one of whom was with me).

Bridalveil Fall exhibits rainbows at different times of the year, at different times of the day, for a few minutes. I used a polarizer to pull out more color; and I pulled our more with some help from software after the fact.

Gates of the Valley about 8 p.m. - it's really a gateway to a larger universe beyond iconic landscape features like El Capitan on the left, and Cathedral Rocks, on the right. It was difficult to figure out how to get my NEX lenses to focus on infinity for might night shots. I ended up using a flashlight on a reflective road sign as my focal point.

The view of Stoneman Bridge and a reflected North Dome. My 10-18mm came in handy here.

I used a black and white mode (Rich Tones) for this image along the Merced River.

Sometimes I like to flip the image of a reflection, in this case Cathedral Rock in the Merced River.

Inside an historic barn at little-visited Foresta, which is within the confines of the park, but outside Yosemite Valley.

Ordinarily I conduct photography groups in Yosemite each winter. This year, I took a busman's holiday, and enjoyed every minute of my trip and all the time I took making my images of the park. I'll be back NEX year and hope I can post more images of what I'll see.

 David Wyman's gear list:David Wyman's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5 Panasonic Lumix DMC-LF1 Nikon D300 Sony Alpha NEX-7 Nikon D600 +2 more
Comment & critique:
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Sony a6000 Sony Alpha NEX-7
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