Sunday, May 27, 2007

Yosemite workshop

We recently took a trip up to Yosemite National Park so I could attend a workshop conducted by professional photographer Bob Evans. I had been looking for a workshop to attend and an excuse to return to Yosemite so this seemed like a perfect match. I've taken an online photography course before, but I'd never attended a workshop or done much shooting with other photographers in general, so I was really looking forward to it.

If you've never been to Yosemite before, you really owe it to yourself to got at least once. The majesty and grandeur of Yosemite valley is something that's impossible to describe and difficult to capture with a camera. If you're entering the park from the south your first real view of the valley will be just as you exit the tunnel at the appropriately named Tunnel View.

From this view you can see El Capitan on the left, Bridalveil Falls on the right and in the distant center, Half Dome. There are more dramatic times of day and year to photography here, but most of my time was spent down in the valley.

Bridalveil Falls has a beautiful creek below it that offers, like most of Yosemite, wonderful photographic opportunities.

Bob took us to a meadow that sat underneath El Capitan with beautiful views in all directions. We arrived there a little before 7 in the morning so we were able to see the sun break over the mountains and start its' sweep across the valley.

Just a few feet from where I took the pictures above, I had an awesome view of Higher Cathedral Spire, Higher Cathedral Rock and Middle Cathedral Rock..

Turning around from there, El Capitan rose straight up for 3000 feet.

The tallest falls in the park, actually in any national park, is Yosemite Falls. The falls consist of an upper and lower falls and can be seen from many places around the valley. Here is a view of the upper falls from Swinging Bridge.

Here's another view of the upper falls from the appropriately named, Falls View.

Getting a view of both falls takes a bit of positioning, but it's well worth the effort.

At the end of the valley sits the most iconic site in Yosemite, Half Dome. The clouds never materialized during my visit and we didn't get any great color at sunset, but it was still awesome to capture a few images of this icon.

Did you notice the deer in the picture above? This next image was taken on the road to Glacier Point, above the valley.

This last image is one I had imagined after visiting last year and I spent a few nights trying to get it right. The view is exactly opposite the first image in this post, at the tunnel exit.

This is a 13 second exposure with both a car coming and going. It turned out even better than I had imagined and I am glad that I took the time.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Paradise found

I've been wanting to go out shooting with another photographer for a while. I've always heard that this can be a fun and educational experience, but except for a brief outing with my father-in-law, I haven't been able to organize this. So, a couple of weeks ago I called up a good friend of mine who shoots with a medium format film (yes film) camera and asked if he wanted to go out shooting. He was excited about the idea as he hadn't been able to go out much lately and we would also get a chance to hang out. He told me about a park very close to his house that has a waterfall, and even though close to the city, felt like it was very remote. I was excited about shooting a waterfall as I will be going to Yosemite in a few weeks for a photography workshop and I need to get my waterfall shootin' skills up.

The waterfall, named Paradise Falls, was a pleasant 20 minute hike from the parking lot through open fields and down winding trails. We went late in the afternoon so the sun wouldn't be so harsh and there would be a bit more texture to the canyon walls. It was so relaxing to descend the trail and hear the rushing of the waterfall echoing through the canyon.

We spent about 2 hours exploring the different shooting possibilities and watching the light move and change. It was so cool to be able to bounce ideas off one another and discuss to pros and cons of camera placement, filter use and composition in general. I was also nice just to spend time with my friend.

After we had exhausted the last bit of light down in the canyon we started our hike back. An almost full moon was rising and lighting our way.

Once at the top we were treated to the last remnants of light silhouetting the distant hills. A perfect end to a perfect evening.