Yosemite in winter
Feb 18, 2021
I am lucky enough to be relatively close to Yosemite National Park. While it can be a bit painful to leave the house at a time that allows me to be in the park by sunrise, these are the things that also make being a landscape photographer rewarding.
However right now the park has restrictions. The park is only open from 8-5 and requires an advance day pass. Well, 8-5 is after sunrise and before sunset! So for the most part I have not been going to the park during the pandemic. Along with that are the throngs of people who are flocking to the park to collect their version of the "firefall" that was made famous by Galen Rowell. Because of the numbers it is not an image that I will add to my collection since it draws crowds. I tend to search out the unusual or follow atmospherics in my images. Such is the image above.
While Yosemite Falls in spring is amazing, mainly because of the amount of water going over the falls, times where the actual falls is low flow can still be breathtaking. Yosemite Valley can collect low clouds, snow on the floor and ice clinging to the walls. These are the types of images I gravitate towards.
This particular image drew me in because of the ice on the trees and walls. But the slim ribbon of the falls reminds us that this is indeed one of the tallest falls, made up of three separate falls: Upper Yosemite Falls (1,430 feet), the middle cascades (675 feet) and Lower Yosemite Falls (320 feet). The ice along the upper falls draws the eye into the ribbon of the winter season falls. The rock cliffs around it are unmistakable if you have spent any time in the park.
As for the particular technical parts of the exposure, this was made with a zoom lens set to 40mm, just slightly wider than what the human eye sees, and 1/10th of a second which is slightly slow. I did not want to shoot the image any longer to avoid any wind that would blow the ribbon and also the trees to maintain its crisp look.
So take some time during winter to visit the park. I am sure you will come away with the same feeling of grandeur that you get during any other season, but also will be able to experience lower crowds giving you the feel of having the park all to yourself!