Meadow's Edge, Lembert Dome, and Mount Dana
Meadow's Edge, Lembert Dome, and Mount Dana. Yosemite National Park, California. September 13. 2012. © Copyright 2012 G Dan Mitchell - all rights reserved.
Trees grow at the edges of Tuolumne Meadows as Lembert Dome and Mount Dana rise beyond, Yosemite National Park.
This photograph includes a bunch of Tuolumne Meadows icons familiar to most anyone who has spent time there - and I've spent a lot of time in and around this area over the years! The first obvious icon is the meadow itself, here near the "lower" section before it turns away from the highway and the Tuolumne River heads off towards Glen Aulin and eventually to the abomination of Hetch Hetchy Reservoir. The two prominences rising beyond the meadow are both icon. The closer of the two is Lembert Dome, well known to almost all visitors, especially the many who have hiked to its summit to experience the panoramic view of the area. Beyond Lembert Dome is Mount Dana, the second-highest peak in Yosemite. It is located on the eastern boundary of the park right above the entrance at Tioga Pass. For me, there are other icons in this scene as well, though they may be more personal. The lodgepole pine trees silhouetted along the right edge of the frame are found all over the region. The backlit haze, formed as the morning sun just clears the Sierra crest, is a condition that I strongly identify with Tuolumne - and it is a frequent photographic subject.
This simple shot posed some real technical challenges. Perhaps most obviously, the scene includes an extremely large dynamic range between the very bright areas of sunlit haze along the right shoulder of Mount Dana and the dark silhouettes of the backlit trees. In some situations I might make two exposures and blend them in post, but that does not work so well when thing tree trunks and branches stand against the sky. This is a single exposure that just barely contained the brightest tones, and from which I was able to recover just enough detail in the shadows. The composition might seem a bit odd to some, with the dark mass of the silhouetted trees very close to the right edge of the frame. The idea was to create a sense that the trees, or at least an observer among the trees, is looking out from them into the light-filled open space of the meadow.
G Dan Mitchell is a California photographer whose subjects include the Pacific coast, redwood forests, central California oak/grasslands, the Sierra Nevada, California deserts, urban landscapes, night photography, and more.
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