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Illilouette Fall, Yosemite National Park | by Tyler Westcott
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Illilouette Fall, Yosemite National Park

Last April, 2015, I had the good fortune to make a trip to Yosemite with family and friends for a few nights. Being another warm drought year, Glacier Point Road was open and we were able to hike outside of Yosemite Valley. On the final day of that visit, we got a chance to hike some of the Panorama Trail, which departs from Glacier Point and joins the Mist Trail and John Muir Trail above Nevada Fall. Among other great views along the way, I was particularly looking forward to finally seeing Illilouette Fall up close. Previously, I'd only seen it at a distance from the lower portions of the Mist Trail or other more distant views. There is really only one good vantage point along the way, from which this photograph was made. Although the fall is about 370 ft tall, the view is still largely obstructed from the trail, and so I focused on the upper portion here where the fall begins.

  

Because the snow pack was so terrifyingly low in 2015, the water was a trickle compared to what it should be in April, but on the plus side I liked how much it revealed of the granite beneath the water. On this particular day, a storm was looming and we were under cloud cover, which has the photographic advantage of casting a soft light over everything. Shortly after where we reached this view, the trail continues to a bridge over Illilouette Creek just upstream from the waterfall. We started down the path but the looming storm turned to lightning and thunder and, being on an exposed ridge at elevation during a thunderstorm is not a good place to be and we turned back. I hope to get a chance to revisit it again this year and hopefully see how it looks when the water is really flowing.

  

Notably, I had the very good fortune to attend a great three day workshop (Digital Printing for the Fine Art Photographer) last month with masterful photographer and print maker Charles Cramer, assisted by Rex Naden. I learned a great deal from both of these great photographers and strongly encourage anyone with an interest in making prints to consider the workshop as well (it was on my bucket list for years before it finally came together). One of the great exercises we did early in the class was to share ten of our prints with the class for critique, at the end of which everyone selected the two prints they would most like to have for themselves (a very clever way of getting to the heart of which photographs actually resonate with people). Somewhat surprisingly this was my most preferred print, so I thought I ought to share it now. In the time available to work further on our own prints, this was one of the photos I worked on with the assistance of Charlie, Rex, and the other participants. Although this didn't undergo substantial transformation, a number of subtle changes were made that make the image stronger.

  

Nikon D610 | Nikon 70-200mm f/4 @ 70mm | f/8 | 1/400s | ISO 200

  

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Taken on April 20, 2015