Yosemite Before Breakfast – Start Your Day Right

| July 17, 2012

A spring sunrise in Yosemite National Park

Find a beautiful place, scope it out on the first day, and then get up early the next day and make photographs. This has become one of my favorite routines when I visit beautiful places around the world. Besides being a great time to capture beautiful light in my photographs, I love the solitude that the early morning brings. It is a wonderful thing to be surrounded by beauty as the sun makes its first appearance of the day. In many ways it is like a present that unwraps itself around you. You never know what exactly to expect but you have a feeling that it is going to be good.

While visiting Yosemite National Park a couple of months ago, I got up at the crack of dawn one morning and headed into the park. Donna was fast asleep at the B&B when I left so my plan was to shoot for a couple of hours and be back in time to meet her for breakfast. In the morning darkness, I drove a short distance past the park entrance and pulled into a parking lot where I grabbed my gear and started scouting locations on foot. Since we had spent a little time driving through the park the afternoon before, I had a pretty good idea how the light would behave and from which direction I needed to shoot. As I walked along a skinny path through a lush meadow, the grass under my feet was wet from the early morning dew and the only sound I could hear was Yosemite Falls thundering down the cliff side off in the distance. As the morning sky began to illuminate, I noticed a delicate layer of fog resting just above the grass, which burned off rapidly as the sun made its way above the horizon to light my scene.

At this point it was a waiting game. Waiting to see what elements of the landscape the sun would grace first. This is when patience pays off. If you are not seeing the light you like, wait three minutes and your world may change for the better. Or, it may vanish in a heartbeat. In my experience the best photographs in morning light are made just before the best light evaporates. It is very exciting to think you have just found the best light only to discover that a few moments later it is ten times better. Make sure you stay long enough to have an opportunity to capture the best light possible and, of course, be ready with your camera when it happens.


Category: Photography

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  1. Some Photography Links to Waste Your Weekend With | July 20, 2012
  1. Can I breath now? Unbelievable light here, Lee! Love the contrasts that are found hidden in the shadows, and the reflection there is absolutely without peer! Not to mention, the added gift of that epic waterfall in the background there… this picture is a total highlight of my week here, my friend.

  2. Jim Denham says:

    Beautiful image Lee and the patience surely paid off!

  3. Very nice! It’s great to see Yosemite from different perspectives, well done.