Autumn Colors at Yosemite~

Daytime light trails using a 10-stop ND filter
As a special treat for my birthday we decided to take a weekend journey up to Yosemite and Mono Lake to see what we could do about finding autumn colors in California. The plan was to leave late Thursday and spend Friday and Saturday exploring Yosemite before heading over to Mono Lake Saturday evening for sunsets and sunrises. Unfortunately the weather did not agree.

It was overcast for most of our Yosemite day, and while I was sad I couldn’t take sunset pictures with no sun I was content with my overcast waterfall and valley photos. However, overnight snowfall closed the Tioga Pass the morning we planned to drive it so that effectively ruined our plans to go to Mono Lake (talk about bad timing.)

We decided to head back down to SoCal on Saturday instead of driving around Yosemite to get to Mono Lake. We contemplated stopping by Sequoia or Kings Canyon National Parks, but with questionable weather everywhere we decided we’d try again some other time.

On the bright side, I did get some good use out of my 10 stop neutral density filter I picked up a few weeks ago. Using the filter, my sad tripod, a shutter release and a nifty app on Travis’s iPhone I practiced taking long exposure shots in broad daylight. This allowed for some cool smoothing effects and also helped to remove stray people who insisted on wandering through the waterfalls. My fav shots of the trip were the long exposures light trails down the autumn road and the ones of the lake (before it got all overcast and grey).

Overall it was a good first trip to Yosemite — I’d definitely like to go back sometime, perhaps in the spring when the waterfalls are flowing stronger (although I here it’s far more crowded then). I also need to get a nice shot at the Tunnel View overlook; we didn’t make our way over there until the clouds had settled in and there was no chance of seeing any of the peaks. Maybe next time we’ll actually check the weather in advance or plan to stay a few more days so we have more flexibility.

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