Yosemite National Park (HDR)

Last week I had my first visit ever to Yosemite National park in Northern California.   I have traveled to many  places in my day and without a doubt, this has got to be the most breathtaking place I have ever seen!!!!  It seemed like I was in heaven.   Stunning views and sights with every turn of your head.   If I could list all the adjectives that describe this amazing place…it would gone on forever.   This is a day I will never forget!

I’ll have many a photo from here, so there will be more posts to come.  I had just arrived into San Francisco and had a free Sunday before work started.   I have always seen the tour brochures at the hotels in SF and I studied them and asked during my last visit in late 2009 what would be the best tour…a few people suggested Extranomical Tours.   I checked out their website before I arrived and if I had time I wanted to go for it.  They pick you up at your hotel at around 6 AM and as it was offseason, we only had 8 people on the tour.   We had the last pick up around 7:15 and we were on our way in a nice van.  During the summer the amount of people and bus size surely increase!   We had a wonderful tour guide..if I can recall his name was Kirk?   He was very informative and had a mic and talked a bit during the ride.  Thanks Kirk!!  Great job!  We also had a great bunch of folks on the ride.  They were from all over the world…Singapore, India, Japan, Taiwan, Swtzerland, a local from SF and me from Texas!

The ride out takes about 4 hours.  You stop for a bit to get a snack and continue on.  We arrived about 11:30ish AM.  As soon as you arrive at the gate, a magnificent river is to your right with big boulders spread throughout which causes cascading water in multiple spots as it continues up through the mountains as far as the eye can see.   Wow!  We were lucky, two days before the park was closed due to falling tress.  They had just had a big snowfall and it reopened this Sunday.   Add to our luck I had heard that snowfall at ground level only occurs 1-2 times a year.  Nice!    I had never taken HDR’s in snow…so an experience was to come!

Our first stop of the tour was Tunnel View and we hopped out of the van and walked a few feet and the view just blows you away!!!   I’ll post that pic soon. As soon as I saw the mountains and snow….UNREAL!!  Just awe inspiring!  I knew a fabulous day was ahead.  I’ll continue with more on Monday….I’ll post an IR shot from Yosemite.  Its the kinda place when you are there, you just can’t believe it and do not feel worthy your eyes are seeing such stunning creations of nature.

As for this picture, we were in the van heading to Yosemite Lodge and had 1 hour and 45 mins to have lunch and walk around.  As we pulled up, out the window I see this view from a distance!!!!  Immediately I say to myself…HOLY Cr&P!!!  As soon as we stopped I quick grabbed a burger and was on my way to this location.  About a 5-7 minute walk.   You turn a corner and whammo!!  This is right in front of you!!  In the middle is Yosemite Falls!!!!     I waited for a few people to pass and you can see they are in the distance.  Its great as it gives you a size reference to these tree-mendous trees!!!  I still cannot believe I was there.  So if you or anyone is in the SF area….please, please visit Yosemite.  You will never forget it!  To be continued…

Talke Photography Settings:

  • Camera:  Nikon D300
  • Lens: Nikon 18-200 f/3.5-5.6
  • Setting: Aperture  Mode
  • Focal Length: 18.0mm
  • ISO: 200
  • Exposure:  HDR 5 exposures (+2 to -2)
  • Aperture:  f/22
  • Gear:  Tripod, Cable release
  • Post Process: Adobe CS4, Photomatix, Color Efex Pro, Vivieza