Although it was well into June, Yosemite still had enormous reserves of snow. So much so, in fact, that the Tioga Pass road, connecting the Valley with the east end of the park, was open literally two days before we drove across it to Lee Vining. The drive was incredibly picturesque, and since we were headed east, the afternoon sun was behind us and the Dana Fork went the other way along the road.

Dana Fork is usually a mountain creek feeding the Tenaya Lake, but after copious amounts of snow and the first long string of warm, sunny days, it was a raging river barreling down the mountain, flooding meadows and jumping over boulders and tree trunks.

On two separate occasions that evening, as well as the following morning, Scott, John, Tyler and I made a quick stop to explore the rapids for some photographic opportunities. The other three made good use of their neutral density filters, which block out a lot of light coming into the camera, allowing long exposure times, which in turn yield milky smooth water effect.

Since I wasn’t a card-carrying member of the ND club, I focused on only moderately long exposures, in the range of 1/30th of a second. That’s still long enough to show some water flow, but short enough that camera shake isn’t an issue, especially with a 17-40mm f/4L lens. This scene was the one I particularly liked, with a nice separation of the clouds from the sky and plenty of nice looking pine trees. A narrow aperture brought out the natural sharpness of the FP4 film, so I didn’t bother with any post-production manipulation.

John, Tyler, Suad and Scott

John, Tyler, Suad and Scott


As a blog special, here’s a photo of all four of us on the eastern entrance to Yosemite, which is the highest point on the Tioga Pass Road. It marks the first time I’ve been at more than 3000 meters elevation.

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