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Valley View #1 - Yosemite National Park | by PatrickSmithPhotography
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Valley View #1 - Yosemite National Park

Yosemite's lowest hanging fruit, the Valley View It is amazing how this scene is just handed to you on a silver platter. But I chose to come here when the light was good and the water was flowing well. And I had to do some risky moves to get out to this spot. No HDR.


Free wallpaper for over 100 of my images in 6 different screen sizes is now available!


See the 1200 pixel version!


Also, I am a winner in the 2009 Natures Best Ocean Views contest. This photo was a winner! The print looks a LOT better than the Flickr upload for some reason.



Settings etc.:



Canon 5D Mark II

Canon 17-40L @ 20 (very wide but it still all just barely fits in!)

1-second exposure @F16

LEE soft ND grad (100x150mm) 0.9 + 0.75

Lee foundation kit filter holder with Lee 77mm adapter ring

ISO 50

RAW file processed with Capture One by Phase One

TIFF file processed with Photoshop


This is the classic view along the river near the entrance to the valley. Even though there is a nice car park just 100 feet away from where I set the tripod, there was not another person in sight during nearly this entire sunset. I'm not sure why. Probably because it had been raining and even snowing above 6,000 feet elevation until about 20 minutes before I made this image. It was looking almost hopeless, but I could see openings in the clouds developing. And this spot seemed to have the best chance for the best light. I had other plans for sunset, but the light was bad there. Everything in the frame seemed alive, from the rock and grass in front, to the rapids in the middle, to the light on El Capitan and Bridalveil valls.


Of course I could not just put the tripod on the concrete sidewalk and take the shot. I carefully composed this scene after waiting for about 30 minutes on a slippery small rock where you had to jump across several other slippery rocks. I should have just taken my shoes off but standing on river-bottom rock for 30 minutes would have torn my feet up and it was snowing at 6,000 feet elevation at this time even though it was June. So the water was cold! Yes, I should get wellies...


I wanted to show the grasses close up, along with the orange reflections on the right. And all the way to 1612 ft. Ribbon Falls in the upper left. The highest freestanding waterfall in North America just beating out Upper Yosemite Falls. Earlier there were some guys with big 8x10 view cameras fiddling around on the sidewalk for quite a long time. They could not have made this image with their clumsy equipment, believe me!


The map shows exactly where this is. Just downstream from the pullout about 100 feet.


See my Flickr profile for a link to my website where I have limited edition prints and less expensive open edition prints.



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Taken on June 5, 2009