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.
* Website: Eloquent Images
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