Landscape Photography, challenging and fulfilling

Misty River, Bridal Veil Falls by Cheryl McDonaldDay 2 of our last trip to Yosemite was not just about waterfalls, although they were the highlight. As we arrived on the valley floor, the sun was rising, we found ourselves in the midst of mist rising from the river and low clouds traveling through the valley. Beautiful, magical and challenging to shoot. We set up tripods and set about trying to capture the landscape, shrouded in mist, backlit by the rising sun. The auto focus on my camera were not happy- the softness of the light and mist made the camera unable to read anything concrete within the view and the back lighting caused the light meter serious confusion.

It was definitely a moment of reckoning- could I actually capture the scene and the magic when I had to be completely dependent on my own knowledge and understanding of my camera? Misty River by Cheryl McDonald

One of the things I love about shooting with a digital camera and a 4gb memory card, is that there is lot’s of space to experiment! I am not limited to a roll of 36 prints at some point in the future and although I cannot get a clear reading of the images as I shoot them, I do have some idea of what the light and focus are doing in them, so I can make adjustments and continue shooting. Trial and Error is the way we learn and the luxury of being able to take many shots and analyze them has been a wonderful gift and made me a much stronger photographer.

After we had our fill of the misty valley floor we headed to Yosemite Falls. Loaded with cameras, tripods, lenses and some plastic bags to cover our cameras from the mist of the falls, we hiked back to the base of the lower falls. Walking through the forest in the early morning is such a life affirming experience for me. Hearing the falls in the background and the birds waking up, icy dew on the grass where the snow had melted glistened in the sunshine that was filtering through the redwoods is all a far cry from the racing traffic outside my window in the city.

Rainbow Falls by Cheryl McDonaldAs we arrived at the falls, we were greeted by the most beautiful rainbow that stretched across the front of the falls, as bright as if it had been painted there by the leprechauns themselves! We set up our cameras and went to work. Once again, having to rely on my camera knowledge and skill as the mist of the falls and the bright sunlight filtering through the trees and reflecting on the water caused the camera to be very confused. Shooting in manual is becoming more and more the norm for me and I find it so much more fulfilling to be able to capture what I see and want to express versus what the camera will automatically record for me. Mossy Rocks by Cheryl McDonald

Our last stop of the day before heading home was the Ahwahnee Hotel. Across from the hotel is a wonderful wilderness rock garden and we decided to see what we could capture in textures and abstracts and other foresty kinds of images.

Falls by Cheryl McDonaldAll in all it was a most rewarding trip and I came away with lots of images to work with for my Yosemite series. Next trip is planned for sometime in May. I will keep you posted!

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2 Responses to “Landscape Photography, challenging and fulfilling”

  1. Brenda Thour Says:

    Hi Cheryl,
    I am featuring you on my blog later today, and I need to know if the third photo with the rainbow in it, is titled ‘Rainbow Falls’?
    Thanks,
    Brenda

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