Greetings from Squirrel Rock

*   *   *   * Every workshop has its inside jokes, some comment or reference that gets everyone laughing and somehow seems to find its way into every location or mealtime conversation. So today I offer this beautiful reflection of Yosemite’s Squirrel Rock. Often mistakenly referred to as “El Capitan,” this frequently photographed granite monolith…. Okay, okay, I know, I know, this really…

A perfect end to a perfect day

*    *    *    * A few weeks ago I led a one day trip to Yosemite for a class I teach two or three times a year. This class usually fills, but this time I only had six students (about half the usual size), I suspect because many people saw a storm was forecast and decided to stay home. Sigh. As…

The missing dimension

*   *   *   * It seems too obvious to mention, but I’ll say it anyway: Photography is a futile attempt to render a three-dimensional world through a two-dimensional medium. Unfortunately, that reality doesn’t seem to keep people from putting their eye to their viewfinder and clicking without regard for their camera’s vision. But here’s a secret: While anyone with a camera…

Double your pleasure

It seems that people stay away from Yosemite in autumn because that’s when the waterfalls are at their lowest. True story. But believe it or not, Yosemite isn’t all about waterfalls. El Capitan, Half Dome, Cathedral Rocks, Sentinel Rock (I could go on), are great subjects in their own right. Subtract the waterfalls but add the yellows, oranges, and reds of Yosemite Valley’s many deciduous…

Fall into winter

Probably the number one question I’m asked about Yosemite is, “What’s the best season for photography?” My response always sounds like it was crafted by a waffling politician, but I swear I just don’t have the absolute answer everyone wants: Yosemite in spring is all about the water, a time when the vertical granite can’t seem to shed the winter snowpack fast enough; summer offers…

Encore!

Yesterday I spent an incredible day in Yosemite, guiding a group of photographers from the Sacramento area. When I schedule these trips, I do my best to time them for nice conditions, but of course there’s no guarantee things will work out. Yesterday they worked out. Big time. Not only did we catch Yosemite Valley at its fall color peak (it’s late this year),…

I love it when things work out

October 29, 2012 My Yosemite autumn workshop wrapped up last night with a spectacular moonrise above Half Dome at sunset. That my group was there to photograph it was both a source of pride, and great personal satisfaction—I doubt few things on Earth are more beautiful than a full moon rising above Half Dome at sunset, and I love being able to share it….

Photographic Reality: See the light

  “Photography’s gift isn’t the ability to reproduce your reality, it’s the ability to expand it.” (The third installment of my series on photographic reality.) Dynamic range One of photographers’ most frequent complaints is their camera’s limited “dynamic range,” it’s inability to capture the full range of light visible to the human eye. To understand photographic dynamic range, imagine light as water you’re trying to capture from a…

Reflecting on reflections

What is it about reflections? I don’t know about you, but I absolutely love them–I love photographing them, and I love just watching them. Like a good metaphor in writing, a reflection is an indirect representation that can be more powerful than its literal counterpart. In that regard, part of a reflection’s tug is its ability to engage the brain in different ways than we’re…

If you can’t beat ’em…

If it weren’t for Tunnel View on the Wawona Road, no doubt one of the most photographed vistas in the world, this view from Big Oak Flat Road, across the Merced River Canyon from Tunnel View, would probably be the Yosemite shot we all see. Visitors arriving from Highway 120 round a bend and are greeted with this view, their first inkling of Yosemite’s…