• Lembert Dome
  • Mt Dana
  • Mt Gibbs
  • Mammoth Peak
  • Kuna Crest
  • Nice bit of detail in the river bottom. Love the exposure levels. - Darvin Atkeson

Tuolumne Tundra - Yosemite National Park

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Just when I thought Tioga Pass was closed for the season, a magical thing happened: some late season warm weather melted the ice from the road and highway 120 reopened. How fortunate then that I was visiting my family a mere 1.5 hours from Yosemite when this occurred. I was already planning on going into the Valley to camp, but with the fortuitous reopening of Tioga Pass, I decided to spend the day instead exploring Tuolumne Meadows under a blanket of snow. My mom came along as well and we spent the day freezing our toes off, exploring the icy Yosemite high country.

Tech notes on this photo
Nikon D7000
Tokina 12-24 f/4 at 16mm
f/9 - sharpest spot on my lens, allows for sufficient DOF on a crop sensor
1/10 second
No filters due to brightness of snow and reflection

In Raw Converter (Nikon Capture NX2)
- Processed single raw file twice, once for foreground and once for sky
- Changed from Cloudy to Shady white balance
- Global "s-curve" curves adjustment
- Dropped exposure of sky ~1 stop
- Local brightness and contrast adjustments to clouds, reflection, and water

In Photoshop:
- Noise reduction via Neat Image plugin
- Selectively sharpened areas with detail, masked out areas like snow, water, and sky
- Layered sky tiff on foreground tiff and blended with simple gradient on a layer mask. Some minor touch up with the brush tool
- Some burning via luminosity masks to control the brightest highlights in the clouds
- Saturation reduction of yellows
- Slight darkening of sky via curves layer

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bongarang, TylerPPorter, and 144 other people added this photo to their favorites.

View 20 more comments

  1. Steve Kody 29 months ago | reply

    Pretty sweet stuff. You really lucked out. Tioga Pass was closed when I was in the area on the 15th. Nice to see a wintery shot from here.

  2. Gabriele Leto 29 months ago | reply

    congratulations for your portfolio. traveling to photograph is my dream .. being a lover of wild nature

  3. Pipall 29 months ago | reply

    Awesome shot Joshua! Love the tones and composition!

  4. Shane Venem 29 months ago | reply

    A beauty, Josh.

  5. lssdfx 29 months ago | reply

    Beautiful shot!!! Love the snow !!!

  6. Joshua Cripps 29 months ago | reply

    Thanks for all the kind words, everyone! It was a beautiful night for sure.

  7. JaveFoto 29 months ago | reply

    this is a TOP NOTCH shot man!

  8. bahus57 29 months ago | reply

    I enjoy your work. I love the colors in this image, great capture!

  9. The Fishbone 29 months ago | reply

    Sensational photography. I like how your able to keep such crisp focus on the photographs with deep depth of field. I enjoyed my time browsing your photostream. Thanks for stopping by mine.

  10. ZacharyG 29 months ago | reply

    spectacular lighting & reflected color....and the submerged river rocks are an awesome detail...wonderful photo!

  11. Justin Smith - Photography 29 months ago | reply

    The creek makes a nice lead-in... Looks cold.

  12. wildintel [deleted] 29 months ago | reply

    Awesome exposure, and fantastic clouds in the background. I've never seen this part of the park.. It looks beautiful.

  13. Nick Chill Photography 29 months ago | reply

    Please add your wonderful photo to the Parks In Snow thread, in Best of U.S National Parks.

  14. Laurence  28 months ago | reply

    Quite a few PP steps to bring this shot 'round. This is exactly what I'm trying so hard NOT to do. Granted, most times great shots don't just fall out of the camera, getting them close to that is my key objective. My thinking, and experience, all indicate that if the PP steps take an exceptional amount of time, then the shot isn't worth taking. Just saying.... IMHO.

  15. Joshua Cripps 28 months ago | reply

    Hey Mark, I totally feel you on the post-processing. Keep it simple stupid is my usual motto. This Tuolumne image actually wasn't too much processing; if you look at the steps it really comes down to this: a color correction, and exposure correction, and some contrast to help things pop. Everything else is just subtle touches. I think I spent maybe 20 minutes on this one. If you want to see an image where I really went crazy with the processing, check out the list of layers on this one. :)

    Coyote Falls

  16. Nick Chill Photography 28 months ago | reply

    Your photo is one of the Top 20 Photos of 2011, in the group Best of U.S. National Parks. Congratulations!

  17. hartmanns.ch 27 months ago | reply

    beautiful scene! gratulation!

  18. PHOTOROTA 26 months ago | reply

    Great click...............

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