Juniper Trees, Morning Light
Juniper Trees, Morning Light. Yosemite National Park, California. July 28, 2011. © Copyright 2011 G Dan Mitchell - all rights reserved.
Morning light falls on rugged Juniper trees growing in glaciated terrain near Yosemite's Olmsted Point.
The Yosemite high country along (and beyond) Tioga Pass Road, which crossed the Sierra through the national park, is a land shaped by glaciers. The night before I had decided that the morning photography subjects would be in an area of granite domes, glacial erratics, small ponds, and rugged granite-bound trees in an area generally centered around the iconic Olmsted Point viewpoint.
My first subject, generally defined, was going to be an area of large granite slabs on a ridge that I knew would be hit by the early morning sun shortly after sunrise. I arrived in the general area after dawn but before the direct light arrived here, and I headed up the slabs to scope out possible subjects. The atmosphere was quite hazy, which can be a mixed blessing for photography. On one hand, distant subjects are muted an indistinct. On the other, the light on closer subjects can be diffused and soft, and this helps fill in shaded areas. It also means that more distant background elements can be muted both in contrast and color saturation. When I found this rugged cluster of old juniper trees, I looked for a composition that would catch the first light striking them from behind and also include a bit of the more distant exfoliated dome as background.
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