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Yosemite Valley, California

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Coming in from Fresno I rolled in to Yosemite a bit late in the day and was treated to this very much Rembrandt view of Yosemite Valley with the bright mid day sun was beaming down on Bridal Veil falls making it the spot light of the image. The lower half of El Capitan glowed a golden hue while the top remained dull gray due to the building afternoon clouds that are typical in the park in the spring time. It looked like some painting that Albert Bierstadt painted but it was in fact the real deal. The lighting was so

perfect and I rushed to get the camera set up and this was my first shot. As expected, it didn't last long and soon the brilliant white gleam of Bridal Veil Falls was dimmed by the sun. I have seen the park hundreds of times but each time I come through the tunnel from Highway 49 the view takes my breath away as I exit the tunnel. The parking lot was full with the exception of one parking slot and I quickly grabbed it. I couldn't have

asked for better lighting and this will undoubtedly be one of my personal top images on Flickr in the near future. Every so often you just get there are the right time and this was certainly one of them. At the time of this posting, this Yosemite Valley shot reigns as my Windows 7 desktop wallpaper.


For those of you that have not had the fortune to see Yosemite, let me take you on a small tour of all the features in this image. Yosemite Valley lies about dead center of the California Sierra Nevada Mountains. It was carved by several receding glaciers over several ice ages that covered most of North America and the flat valley floor later formed as Yosemite Lake filled with sediment. Today most of Yosemite Valley is forested but there are still several large meadows hidden deep in the valley.


This photograph was taken at the Tunnel View which is a few hundred feet below Inspiration Point where Yosemite Valley was fist viewed by the Mariposa Battalion. To the left you can see the single largest piece of exposed granite known as El Capitan. It is Yosemite Valley's single largest icon standing at just under 3000ft (910 meters). To the right, beautiful Bridal Veil Falls which is often lifted by strong winds as they enter Yosemite Valley and whip the falls in to a lacey mosaic of water and rock giving it the name Bridal Veil. In the far distance, you can see Half Dome and just to its left, Clouds Rest both suitably named. I was fortunate to get the cloud cover this time of year. The Icelandic volcano which has caused much havoc amongst European travelers has extended California's rainy season in to mid May and as a result, several storms have

recently blown though Yosemite. Just two days before this shot, a storm blew though and dumped several inches of snow on the upper elevations.


For the technically inclined who want to know all the gory details:

Nikon D300

Nikkor 15-55mm

26mm (39mm equivalent)

Mode - Manual



ISO 200

ND Grad Filter

Circular Polarizer

Center Weighted Exposure

Manfrotto Carbon Fiber Tripod

RC Remote Release

Original Image Size 4288 x 2848

Posted Size 1920 x 1275

JPEG file used with only minor editing.

Processed in Photoshop CS5 (Trial Version)



Granted the tripod and remote release was probably not required for this shot but I find it is always best to use a tripod. It also helps as I am often asked to take pictures for many of the tourist and wanting them to have a good California experience I always oblige their request and just continue to click off shots on with my remote as I take their shot and talk about the view. It is also a great place to meet fellow Flickr photographers.


Hope you find this one as enjoyable as I do and please feel free to use the Original Size as your Windows or Mac desktop background.


Prints of this shot are available upon request in most sizes. Please contact me for details.




© Darvin Atkeson

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Taken on May 12, 2010