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Fall Color, Fern Spring, Yosemite

Posted by
Gary Hart (California, United States) on 14 August 2010 in Landscape & Rural and Portfolio.

I've said it before, and I'm sure I'll say it again: Yosemite's fall color is underrated. Yosemite's color may not stand up to New England and the Eastern Sierra (among others), but it's still quite nice, and when paired with the rest of Yosemite's always spectacular scenery, it's pretty tough to beat autumn Yosemite.

A particular Yosemite fall highlight is Fern Spring. Fern Spring is a photographer's favorite in any season, an opportunity to compose intimate scenes of reflections and staircase cascades. Time your visit just right in the fall and you can add a carpet of color to your Fern Spring frame. Nevertheless, I've photographed here so much that I sometimes find inspiration difficult. But, with or without a camera, it's such a nice little spot that I can't imagine foregoing the stop entirely--the difference is now I don't stress about making a picture. And guess what--not only do I still find them, I think I like my new images better than the earlier ones. So what's up with that?

Sometimes I think we just need to shake things up, to get out of our standard thought processes. For example, in previous visits to Fern Spring this tree was an annoyance, something to work around. But as I stood back and admired the scene one gray fall morning, my eye fell on a single leaf resting at the tree's trunk. Rather than lament the leaf's proximity to this "intrusive" tree, I removed my camera from the tripod and played with compositions. Much to my surprise, my camera seemed to stop (imagine a diving rod locating water) when the tree split my frame diagonally. Ignoring photography "rules" instructing me otherwise, I brought in my tripod, refined the composition, and came up with one of my favorite fall color images.

So, did I stumble upon a photography breakthrough, the landscape photography equivalent of Einstein's Special Theory of Relativity? I think not. But for most of us mortals (and perhaps even Einstein himself), inspiration comes in small increments. By definition creativity isn't repeating what's already been done, it's venturing beyond the known and comfortable and into the unfamiliar. Had I approached this scene in my standard fashion, or let preconceived biases limit my vision, this shot would surely have been lost.

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

Mike from California, United States

Hey Gary...Before you know it, fall will be upon us ! Some of my favorite images are from Fern Spring. I do like how you were able to use the tree in your composition.

14 Aug 2010 5:36am

Cosmin from Bucharest, Romania

very nice, love it

14 Aug 2010 11:27am

Tracy from La Selva Beach, United States

I love the depth that the tree provides in this! I get a real feeling for the "larger picture" from this....I have not been to Yosemite this year, and would love to pop up there in the fall!

14 Aug 2010 1:11pm

Judy aka Ladybug from Brooksville, Florida, United States

This is gorgeous; the little 'packets' of yellow leaves 'jump' right off the screen in what looks almost like a 3-dimensional image.

14 Aug 2010 1:34pm

Denny Jump Photo from Easton, PA, United States

Hi Gary - Absolutely, I love your incorporation of this tree! The added element, to me, is a plus here. The wonderful moss and trunk lead us to the double-stepped baby waterfalls and then our eyes dance all around enjoying all the leaves and color. This is wonderful! And your words are always such a joy to read. The lessons I learn from your blogs are so appreciated. Thank you for this marvelous and best of luck at Big Sur!

14 Aug 2010 3:58pm

DarkElf from Perth, Australia

fantastic composition! the tree and its mossy surface add a nice break from the usual waterfall scene! i like it a lot! the sprinkles of bronze and yellow leaves are superb as well!

15 Aug 2010 2:06pm

JOEMULLIGAN from burnsville, nc, United States

lovely image. nice the way that mossy tree interupts the stream. beautiful colors

15 Aug 2010 7:46pm

KriKridesign from Cully, Switzerland

love the quietness of your image...

17 Aug 2010 10:02am

Julie from Easton, United States

Such a peaceful scene captured so well! Wow!

18 Aug 2010 5:15am

Dutçh from Chicagoland, United States

This is magical, I expect to see little faeries flitting around.. pristine, untouched nature.

26 Aug 2010 2:32pm

Magda from Vancouver, Canada

absolutely beautiful! love the wide DOF and the 'silky' water

28 Aug 2010 4:43pm

Cassy from Pennsylvania, United States

Beautiful fall shot! I love fall, its my fav. season. Its been so dry here this year i dont know if we will have much of a fall. So thanks for such a beautiful scene!

16 Sep 2010 12:33am