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Snow and Sky, Valley View, Yosemite

Posted by
Gary Hart (California, United States) on 10 February 2009 in Landscape & Rural and Portfolio.

There's nothing quite like Yosemite with a fresh blanket of snow. But because Yosemite Valley is only 4,000 feet above sea level, it often gets rain as the rest of the Sierra gets snow. And when snow does fall, the relative warmth in Yosemite Valley starts the melting process that robs the scene of its freshness almost as soon as the snow stops falling. So capturing a scene like this requires being in the park during the storm--if you wait until hearing it snowed in Yosemite, you'll be too late.

Last December when I learned an incoming cold winter storm was expected to deposit snow in Yosemite Valley, I changed my plans and headed to the park. I arrived in the evening, just as the snow started. The next morning I woke to falling snow and clouds that obscured everything but the closest trees. It wasn't until mid-afternoon that the snowfall abated and I was able to get to work.

I found this shot at Valley View, a location that's probably second only to Tunnel View for "cliché" Yosemite shots. Because there are so many images from Valley View, I usually avoid shooting here when I'm by myself. But it's such a beautiful spot that I always check it out as I drive by. And on this afternoon I couldn't resist.

In this case my eyes went first to the beautiful background and I moved around in search of a foreground to support the scene. I composed the frame vertically to lead the eye from front to back, centering the horizon to create a mirror relationship between the foreground snow, ice, and water and the background sky and clouds.

Nature is full of seemingly unrelated elements like this that can be connected by careful arrangement in the frame. Finding and revealing these relationships is the difference between taking snapshots and creating art.

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Thanks for visiting. Even if I don't respond, your comments are always read and appreciated.

Rosso from Luserna s.Giovanni (To), Italy

this is really a wonderful composition Congratulations!

10 Feb 2009 9:49am

zahai from Berlin, Germany

Beautiful. Love the light and reflections.

10 Feb 2009 10:35am

Müge from Istanbul, Turkey

Excellent composition! Superb photo!

10 Feb 2009 1:43pm

Kirstin Hill from United States

Hey Gary,

Just wanted to tell you that I've been loving your blog! I've been checking it out every day... I love your photos! :-)


10 Feb 2009 3:29pm

@Kirstin Hill: Thanks, Kirstin, it's good to hear from you. And it's nice to know that someone I know is watching.... :)

Gary Hart from California, United States

Thank you everyone for your comments.

10 Feb 2009 4:22pm

LauraS from Chico, United States

Another beautiful shot. Angle is great, so well framed. Fabulous stuff.

10 Feb 2009 4:48pm

Raye Michele from Halifax, Canada

the lower half of this image is my favourite. The snow-capped stones in the water is beautiful.

8 Mar 2009 5:08pm

dj.tigersprout from New York City, USA, United States

totally brilliant -- i am glad i found your blog from visiting the community page today!! welcome to Aminus3!! and congrats on the spotlight once again -- your work is amazingly beautiful!

7 May 2009 12:31am