Our first ever Yosemite Fall Color Workshop turned out to be one of our favorites of the 2014 year. We had an awesome mix of weather from clear night skies, low mist in Yosemite valley, colorful sunsets and sunrises, and howling winds at Olmsted Point. Ok, the winds weren’t that awesome, but the storm blowing through us (see below) on Sentinel Dome sure was! A big ‘thank you’ to Paul, Carlo, Mike, Carey, Richard, Arvin, Duane, and Pradeep for making this a memorable workshop! We hope the crew can make it out together again!
We started out with introductions before heading out for a sunset shoot above the standard Tunnel View location along Artist Point trail. Afterwards, we took advantage of the clearing skies to try and get some star photos over Half Dome…a warm up for the next evening’s plan for milky way images. Friday morning, we headed out along the Merced River to photograph the morning light on El Capitan and the myriad of reflection opportunities in the mirror-like river. Fall in Yosemite can be the best time of year for these types of photos due to the low flow of the otherwise raging river. After lunch at Degnan’s Deli, we headed out to a glowing grove of dogwoods which were turning a wonderful shape of red where we took advantage of the afternoon sun. A (much) longer than anticipated stop at the gas station, due to a power outage, had us racing to get to Tenaya Lake for sunset. We caught the light as it warmed the faces of Tenaya Peak and Poly Dome. As the light faded, we ventured to photograph the milky way over half dome from Olmsted Point. While the clear skies cooperated, the piercing winds made it challenging. Carlo’s bourbon warmed our chilled spirits…and I must say, hot apple cider mix with bourbon was not a bad combo! Pizza and a Giants win in the World Series topped off the evening back in El Portal.
The next 24 hours had pretty much everything that makes Yosemite great. We once more photographed the early morning glow along the Merced River. A forest grove with golden grasses and fall foliage ferns made for excellent subject matter as the sun broke the granite ridge to the south. After lunch, we headed to the high country once more where we literally had a storm blow through us atop Sentinel Dome. Seeing some clouds heading straight towards us, I primed my camera for video mode…only to forget to press the record button. D’oh! Luckily, someone else was more adept.
As rain started to fall, and half rainbows faded in and out to the south of half dome, we headed to Glacier Point to photograph the ever-changing storm. The views from here are stunning and we soaked in the grandeur of the scene in front of us. Using the fading light to our advantage, several of the group captured stunning long exposure views and time lapse of the shape-shifting clouds.
Despite the whirlwind of events, we opted for an extra early morning to end the workshop. Yosemite valley is often a better for sunsets, but sunrises can be spectacular after a passing storm. We were delighted to find low mist in the valley where you just couldn’t go wrong with either an expansive view of the entire valley or small detailed scenes of the fog and mist mingled with the forest below. Knowing the rain from the previous day could mean low mist in the meadows, we raced into the valley where we photographed yet another amazing scene before re-visiting the forest grove with ferns for once last session.
We hope you all had an amazing time. Josh and I certainly did! Until next time…