Fog in Yosemite Valley

The Monday following Thanksgiving weekend I took a hastily planned trip to Yosemite Valley. The trip was motivated by an encouraging weather forecast that called for partial cloud cover throughout the day ahead of an incoming storm. And while the forecast (mostly) delivered with a nice sunrise at Tunnel View, it was again an unexpected element that made the trip worthwhile.


I’ve released a number of new images from that morning in a new galley that, for now, is simply entitled “Recent Work.” I’m sharing three of them here with a bit of the backstory.

As the colorful sunrise at Tunnel View came to an end, I hopped in my car to head down into the Valley. My plan was to stop at Cathedral Beach to see if the cloud cover made for an appealing image. And I did, but the water level was very low, the light was flat, and I spent no more than a minute there before deciding to continue looking for a more appealing scene. And it wasn’t long before I saw rising fog in the meadows further west in the Valley and jumped out of the car, tripod in hand.


The process of capturing these images was quite straightforward. I simply stood in the middle of a meadow with the camera on a tripod and a long zoom lens (a 100-400mm) and explored the scenery through the lens, taking occasional shots when the composition or shifting fog made for an appealing scene. A bit of lingering fall color caught my eye here and there, and I tried to incorporate it in many of the images I captured. The combination of elements—low fog, soft light, and touches of orange and yellow—did most of the work for me.

Back at home later on, the process of reviewing these images was quite enjoyable. They required very little post-processing work in the computer aside from minor adjustments to brightness and color, as well as some cropping decisions to improve on my initial compositions in the field. The bright meadow was a bit troublesome in some images—the low fog almost looked like snow (which is not a bad thing) and was sometimes distracting—but it was easily adjusted to a more pleasing level. And the fog itself made for an ethereal feel in many of the images, particularly the second image shared in this post.

Altogether, the images shared in the “Recent Work” gallery were captured over the course of about 90 minutes. All but one was shot in a single meadow and required nothing more from me that walking a bit from place to place. Only one other photographer was in the meadow during my time there, and a few casual tourists stopped at the fringes for quick pictures before moving on. It was almost easy to forget that I was in Yosemite Valley and that the same meadow is thronged with tourists most of the year.


None of these images are titled yet. Sometimes the process of titling images is easy, sometimes not. It would be easy to title one or two of the images by reference to the time of year and the conditions (e.g., “November Fog, Yosemite Valley”). But I’m going to let them sit for a while before deciding on titles and whether to include all of them in a separate gallery on this site. I hope viewers find them enjoyable.