Forest Reflections, Merced River, Yosemite National Park, California 2012

Forest Reflections, Merced River, Yosemite National Park, California 2012
Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III, EF70-200mm f/2.8L USM,
1/10 second at f/16, ISO 320
Copyright © 2012 William Neill

Last week, I drove up Yosemite Valley (1.5 hrs from my home) to deliver two framed prints for the Yosemite Renaissance XXVII Exhibit. It was a beautiful day, but it was not a particularily photogenic one. The skies were clear, highlights and shadows harsh, and patches of snow cluttered the meadows.  I almost went home, but then decided to drive to the shaded, south side of the Valley where snow remained unmelted after the previous day’s storm. I walked to the banks of the Merced River, alone beneath granite walls of the sacred temple that is Yosemite Valley. Immediately upon reaching the river, I was captured by these stunning reflections.  Fortunately, I let my instincts guide me, with 35 years of living in and around Yosemite helping me to “arrive” where something simple and magical was happening.  The oaks of El Capitan Meadow, darkened by the shadow of Cathedral Rocks, stood out dramatically against the bright afternoon reflections of the west shoulder of El Capitan.

I worked on variations of this scene for around half an hour, engrossed in balancing the key elements, finding the right camera position, and trying different shutter speeds.  Many images that I made were with slower shutter speeds than the 1/10 of a sec used here.  In order to hold good depth of focus I used f/16. For a shutter speed fast enough to show the strong ripple textures, I bumped up my ISO to 320 for a faster shutter speed. What attracted me here were the graphic lines of tree reflections and ripple patterns.  I will post another version, with a slower shutter speed, for a comparison.

For now, enjoy this quiet view of Yosemite Valley.



Published by William Neill

William Neill, a resident of the Yosemite National Park area since 1977, is a landscape photographer concerned with conveying the deep, spiritual beauty he sees and feels in Nature. Neill's award-winning photography has been widely published in books, magazines, calendars, posters, and his limited-edition prints have been collected and exhibited in museums and galleries nationally, including the Museum of Fine Art Boston, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, The Vernon Collection, and The Polaroid Collection. Neill received a BA degree in Environmental Conservation at the University of Colorado. In 1995, Neill received the Sierra Club's Ansel Adams Award for conservation photography. Neill's assignment and published credits include National Geographic, Smithsonian, Natural History, National Wildlife, Conde Nast Traveler, Gentlemen's Quarterly, Travel and Leisure, Wilderness, Sunset, Sierra and Outside magazines. Also, he writes a monthly column, On Landscape, for Outdoor Photographer magazine. Feature articles about his work have appeared in Life, Camera and Darkroom, Outdoor Photographer and Communication Arts, from whom he has also received five Awards of Excellence. His corporate clients have included Sony Japan, Bayer Corporation, Canon USA, Nike, Nikon, The Nature Company, Hewlett Packard, 3M, Freidrick Grohe, Neutrogena, Sony Music/Classical, University of Cincinnati, UBS Global Asset Management. His work was chosen to illustrate two special edition books published by The Nature Company, Rachel Carson's The Sense of Wonder and John Fowles's The Tree. His photographs were also published in a three book series on the art and science of natural process in collaboration with the Exploratorium Museum of San Francisco: By Nature's Design (Exploratorium / Chronicle Books, 1993), The Color of Nature (Exploratorium / Chronicle Books, 1996) and Traces of Time (Chronicle Books / Exploratorium, Fall 2000). A portfolio of his Yosemite photographs has been published entitled Yosemite: The Promise of Wildness (Yosemite Association, 1994) which received The Director's Award from the National Park Service. A retrospective monograph of his landscape photography entitled Landscapes Of The Spirit (Bulfinch Press/Little, Brown, 1997) relates his beliefs in the healing power of nature. William has taught photography since 1980 for such prestigious organizations as The Ansel Adams Gallery, the Friends of Photography, Palm Beach Photographic Workshops, The Maine Workshops and Anderson Ranch Workshops. He specializes in landscape and nature photography and is concerned with conveying the beauty seen in Nature. Currently, he teaches online courses for and One-on-One Workshops in his home studio near Yosemite National Park.

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  7. Bill — I really like the serenity of this image. I tend to respond to scenes that are subtly lighted by skylight. I like that you have left a distinct blue cast here (rather than neutralizing the white balance) — it adds to the coolness and quiet of this image in my opinion. Thanks for sharing this. Frank

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