Self Critique


Yosemite Valley - Morning Light and Reflections

Between Shoots - Reviewing images from previous photography explorations. I find it humbling and educational to occasionally take a look back at my previous work. Although this can be somewhat of a roller coaster ride filled with both horror (I can't believe I posted that), to pure joy (what a morning that was!)

This image was created last year on a beautiful late fall morning while exploring a section of the Merced River in Yosemite Valley I had yet to visit. A fairly fast moving storm moved in mid-day the day before which created some additional drama to an already dramatic environment. Now on the backside of the storm the morning air was damp and dotted with the vapor from each breath I exhaled as I worked my way downstream along the water's edge. My only exposed skin was on my face and it too was experiencing natures subtle warnings.

As the morning progressed the dense cloud cover began to break up revealing hidden terrain and hints of that wonderful sierra blue sky. The rays of the sun poked through the clouds in various places illuminating rock, trees and water while kissing the forest floor with a sensual warmth. The Merced River was in the sleepy state that autumn often produces. Right in between the dull icy and often frozen blandness of winter and the angry and violent white water torrents of spring. Autumns slow tranquil flows can produce stunning mirror like reflections and that was what caught my attention and put me to work here.

Ironically, this image has not been previously shared or published. After a few minutes of observation I'm not actually sure why I made that choice. I see no obvious flaw(s) other than the choice I made to not include the actual treetops (other than in their reflection.) Checking the metadata - the focal length was at 17mm which is the widest focal length of the lens I chose. I'm sure I had other options available to rectify this (back up, tilt the camera, get lower or a combination of some of the previous). In essence, I may have discovered a little something about my own compositional likes (and dislikes). Something worth paying more attention to in the future. That's the main purpose of doing these critiques - to reflect, learn, change, grow, improve and evolve.

I really like the mix of light, the drifting low clouds along the face of El Capitan, and most especially I like the sharp reflection of the entire scene before me in the Merced River. A special moment in a very special place now shared with the world.

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