Lodgepole Pine, Evening Shadows
Lodgepole Pine, Evening Shadows. Yosemite National Park, California. July 22, 2010. © Copyright G Dan Mitchell - all rights reserved.
The evening shadow cast by a nearby high ridge approaches a lone lodgepole pine and an old snag near Tioga Pass, Yosemite National Park.
One of my favorite kinds of light is that found at the edges of shadows from higher peaks as they move across lower terrain. (A secret: Among other "tricks," I like to find and follow these margins when I shoot in Yosemite Valley, too.) Because this light most often happens during the relatively early and late hours of the day, the color quality of the light tends to be warm and the angle low. As the patterns of light and shadow move across the landscape, individual elements may get picked out the the light and can often be isolated against darker backgrounds, as in this photograph.
The Sierra is full of trees pretty much like this one, and such meadows with the isolated small and large trees and scattered boulders are not hard to find. This particular tree is in one of the extensive meadow areas in the general area of Tioga Pass. The photograph was made in the very late afternoon as the tall ridge to the west was blocking the sun.
Despite the still and tranquil nature of the scene, this is an example of a sort of shot that reveals the wrongness of the idea that all landscape is done slowly and methodically and with all the time in the world to work. Sometimes that is the case, but when you work the margins of shadows (or many similar dynamic subjects) there may only be brief seconds when the light is where you want it. An observer might find it humorous to watch the photographer run to get into position and then work very quickly.
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