In June I visited Yosemite with friends, and had the fortune to time the trip to coincide with the peak waterflow of Spring. In 2010, the water flow was extraordinary, as a result of a high winter snowfall and cool spring leaving abundant snow to melt in the early summer. One of the highlights of the trip was to hike the beautiful Mist Trail, which carries you to the lip of Vernal Fall, and further still to the top of Nevada Fall - two extraordinary waterfalls in one hike.
The water was flowing so heavily, in fact, that we have essentially no photographs of Nevada Fall at all. The intensity of the 'mist' (a downpour) prohibited bringing out all of that digital photography gear. However, views of Nevada Fall were wonderful and relatively dry. We took a leisurely pace climbing the 2000ft feet to the top of Nevada Fall and, after a quick lunch, I took a moment to explore the overlook to the east of the fall. My friend Scott had cleverly propped his tripod up in such a way that it leaned over the railing, and I was able to take advantage of it to take this photo. From this location, the waterfall begins its fall just ten to twenty feet to my left, then crashed 480 feet below.
What a photograph will never capture is the amazing roar of so much water moving so ferociously over the cliff and crashing below. For me it also evokes the memory of the sun on my back, the satisfaction of making it up 2000ft without much difficulty, and the broader views from this same spot.
Processing this image required relatively little. I focused on ensuring the highlights were preserved throughout the water, and to keep the color balance appropriately neutral, but still managing to reveal the faint bit of color in the granite below. I enjoy its relative simplicity.
I am sure the falls are dry now, and winter is quickly approaching. But in another six months or so this show will begin again, as it does every year. So if you have not been before, consider this your six month advanced notice to plan it. Go to Yosemite!
Nikon D90 | Nikon 35mm f/2.0 | f/9 | 1/500s | ISO200 | Tripod
See more related images in my Yosemite National Park Gallery.
All text and images © Tyler Westcott, All rights reserved, Unless otherwise noted.