Landscape Photography
of James L. Snyder

Bridalveil Meadow, Autumn Evening
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Bridalveil Meadow, Autumn Evening
Linhof Master Technika 2000 camera, 120mm Schneider Super-Symmar HM f/5.6 lens, Fujicolor Pro 160S film, 55 megapixels
All Images ©Copyright 2010 James L. Snyder. All Rights Reserved

Bridalveil Meadow, Autumn Evening

Valley View, Yosemite Valley, Yosemite National Park, CA, 10/19/2009

This had been a day of changeable weather in Yosemite Valley. In the early morning sunlight gleamed amidst clearing clouds and fog. By late morning the sky completely clouded over and produced heavy rain that threatened to go on for days. By mid-afternoon the rain stopped, the sun reemerged, and the clouds and fog cleared once again. Although challenging to predict and work with, "bad" weather produces some of the best photographic opportunities! In late afternoon I met a fellow large format photographer who confided that most of his best work had been done after it was "too dark and late in the day to make another photograph". So at deep dusk - almost nighttime - I followed his advice and here is the result! I prepared my camera by the north shore of the Merced River at Valley View or Gates of the Valley, the final pullout from westbound Northside Drive that offers a grand view of Yosemite Valley. This is a one minute evening exposure, and it certainly has an unusual appearance. I've never seen another photo of this landscape exhibiting such soft lighting and pastel hues. There's wonderful color variation here without excessive saturation. The clouds look wispy and dreamlike because they drifted during the exposure. The river and shore are blanketed with a light fog, as are parts of tan Bridalveil Meadow beyond. Awash in faint alpenglow above the trees at left is distant Sentinel Rock. Bridalveil Fall is at center, flowing weakly as it does in autumn. To the left of the waterfall is Lower Cathedral Rock, and above the fall are Middle Cathedral Rock and Higher Cathedral Rock, both partially enshrouded in clouds. From this angle looking east, the Cathedral Rocks are also known as the Three Graces. Near the right of the scene is Leaning Tower - a pillar of rock standing nearly 2,000 feet above the valley floor. It is slightly undercut, giving it a leaning appearance. James M. Hutchings (1820-1902, American businessman and principal promoter of what is now Yosemite National Park) called the tower “Tu-tok-a-nu-la’s Citadel” because it is located directly across from El Capitan (known as "Tu-tok-a-nu-la" by Native Americans) and on the tower's summit could be seen projecting rocks which reminded him of guns of a citadel. For me this photograph is a perfect parting glance of Yosemite from a day notable for its unpredictable weather and stunning views!

Bridalveil Meadow, Autumn Evening

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