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Fall Into Winter, Yosemite

Posted by
Gary Hart (California, United States) on 17 December 2010 in Landscape & Rural and Portfolio.

Let's call this one "returning to the scene of the crime." Several years ago I was in Yosemite during a light spring rain. The dogwood were going strong and I got the idea to photograph a dogwood blossom with a Yosemite landmark in the background. After a little search I found a scene, near Valley View, with a blooming dogwood in the foreground and Bridalveil Fall in the background. The resulting image, Bridalveil Dogwood, has become one of my most successful, as well as one of my personal favorites.

Fast-forward to 2010. A few weeks ago my daughter, brother, nephew, and I were in Yosemite Valley during the first significant snowfall of the season. The snow seemed to have caught autumn by surprise, as many of the trees hadn't completely jettisoned their fall color. The result was an assortment of colorful trees glazed in white. I spent the day looking for opportunities to photograph the fall color and winter white together, and in particular wanted this combination with a Yosemite landmark in the frame. It didn't take a genius (fortunately) to consider the site of my previous dogwood image--I knew the alignment was right, and the dogwood seemed to be the trees with the most color remaining, so that's where I headed. Fingers crossed.

When we landed at Valley View I beelined to the familiar old spot and found the very same tree in my old spring image even better as I'd hoped. The red and yellow, snow encrusted dogwood leaves looked like ornaments on a Christmas tree. Because the scene and objective were entirely different than my earlier shot, I approached the composition differently. In the original image I used an extension tube to get as close as possible and fill the frame with a single dogwood bloom; here I wanted to capture the entire branch covered with snow. Because I wanted to give myself lots of options later, I took my time and experimented with different compositions--wider/tighter, horizontal/vertical--and depths of field.

A slight mist obscured the fall slightly, but that was more than compensated by the unusually high flow for this time of year, the product of an unusually wet fall and the heavy rain that preceded the snow. As with the prior image, I wanted Bridalveil Fall to be in the background rather than the focal point. In this version I stood back and zoomed slightly, compressing the perceived distance and imparting just a little softness to the background.

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

Scott F. Schilling from San Martin, United States

Great shot Gary and this one makes me shiver!

17 Dec 2010 5:18am

Didier DE ZAN from somewhere, France

Wonderful winter shot

17 Dec 2010 6:08am

Sylvie49 capture image from Anjou - Maine et Loire, France

Perfect landscape !

17 Dec 2010 10:23am

Tracy from La Selva Beach, United States

Bridalveil Dogwood was the first images of yours that I saw, and it remains my favorite~ I love the near/far view here, too. It makes for a wonderful (if cold!) feeling of really being in the scene!

17 Dec 2010 2:00pm

Sonia Nansid from Barcelona Stockholm, Sweden

Very beautiful.

17 Dec 2010 2:34pm

Tulip from kerman, Iran

very nice view

17 Dec 2010 4:44pm

Vincent de Perrot from Tokyo, Japan

nature is wonderful.

17 Dec 2010 4:55pm

Chris Delle from Natomas, United States

Amazing shot and yes it totally reminds me of your dogwood photo which was (and still is) a big inspiration for me.

17 Dec 2010 7:09pm

Julie from Easton, United States

How pretty of a shot! The yellow leaves beneath the snow really are quite eyecatching and pleasing!

17 Dec 2010 9:23pm

Denny Jump Photo from Easton, PA, United States

That blossom (that you refer to above) is a definite trademark I think, Gary - I have never seen anything like it conveyed in the manner that you did. I also loved your previous post of a few days ago of the leaves encased in the snow...(this looks to be that same area?) This image is, yet again, a very different looking view and it is so beautiful. I don't think I have ever seen so many variations out of porticular "zone." This is so inspiring to me because I find myself trying to do the same thing..getting more out of a "local" spot, or "zone" than just one or even two views..Your work is truly inspirational Gary. Beautiful!

17 Dec 2010 10:51pm

Tamara from Aarschot, Belgium

Fantastic winter scene Gary ! Very nice work. Enjoy your weekend :)

18 Dec 2010 6:55pm

DarkElf from Perth, Australia

i really like the composition and the DOF in this photo! good focus on the detail in the foreground and yet as i looks further on, i discover more interesting detail in the trees around the lake, and then again in the "ghost" of the waterfall in the background! very nicely constructed photo!

20 Dec 2010 1:36am

Kelly Morvant from Lafayette, LA, United States

Very Lovely!

20 Dec 2010 9:38pm

Art from Carmichal, United States

Yes, what DarkElf said . . . .

21 Dec 2010 12:42am

Marie from FRESNES, France

magnifique !

21 Dec 2010 5:54pm

steve loos from hollister, United States

The orange leaves under the white snow is eloquent Gary; also love the soft fading focus back towards the falls.

22 Dec 2010 3:59am