2015 – The Year Of The Dogwoods

2015 is a remarkable year for more than one reason. Personally, this year means a lot to me as my little one is about to arrive and join me in all my future photo adventures. Oh! did I mention, he is gonna give me company at the gym too..? two photographers and two body builders, that’s one hell of a combination. As I prepare for this new begining, I decided to give up shooting (I don’t mean kiling..) for the next 6 months so that the little one gets a perfect welcome. So I decided to take a day off from work and head on to Yosemite National Park to catch the storm and was hoping to get lucky with a Rainbow/lightning and call it a season closure for next 6 months. But as usual, God had a different plan.

As usual, I arrived late at the park and well past the sunrise, but hey! I was early for lunch 🙂 and so decided to drive around in the park and see what’s new. I took a quick tour of the entire village loop to see where all I wanted to stop. Needless to say, I was going nuts and that over developed trigger finger was killing me… So, I decided to start shooting from the Pohono Bridge area and continue towards the village. This first stop had many photo Opportunities. In the following image, a low laying branch of dogwoods is framed against the reflecting flow of the Merced river.

Dogwoods and The Merced River

I know this is not the classic shot where you could see the water motion behind the flowers, but that’s not what I was aiming at. I had my own version of this shot on my mind, I guess I am pretty close to what I had imagined.

Pink and The Bee

Alright, I gotta admit that I didn’t know dogwoods came in Pink! I am a Batman fan but I thought it will be rediculous to ask – Does it come in Black? Of course not. I was so delighted to find this tree I almost forgot that I came to chase the storm… I had the honor of talking to the owner of this tree, he surely had a beautiful glow of pride about this tree. I was shooting with the long lens when this unexpected guest called the Bee showed up and sat right in the frame of my shot. I quickly grabbed a few shots of the Bee and the pink dogwoods and decided to move on.

Dogwood Family

Yosemite Dogwoods.

I kept returning back to the Pohono Bridge area where I feel there’s a lot of potential. Probably because the river is very closeby and the high eleveation gives an excellent opportunity for framing. The second time I was there, this fallen tree branch caught my eye and the relative size of the this fallen branch and the big fat pine trunks called for a framing with the white dogwoods that were shining bright under the sun. The scene looked really dense and made me feel as if I am in a tropical rain forest. Thanks to the rain God.

Dogwoods Reaching For The Sky

Officially, I was still chasing a storm even though I only shot dogwoods entire morning. And how could you not look up while you are chasing storm. And that’s when this idea came to me to shoot the dogwoods against the blue sky. I tried shooting the dogwoods directly against the blue sky but it was too difficult to control the exposure and details. So finally I had find a place which had partial opening to the sky which resulted in the above image – the dogwoods, the blue sky and the bokeh. Hope you like it.

Love Pink!

For the second time Mr. Bee crossed my frame and I just couldn’t miss the opportunity. This picture depicts all the goodies of spring. The lush green colors, the flowers and the Bee…

Dogwoods

And here is another version of the white dogwoods framed against the blue sky, but this time with mild tones and inceased exposure for details. While the previous image (shot against the sky) was focussed on the dogwoods itself, this one is more focussed on spring concept. I wanted the green to be more prominent and bright yet soothing. Sometimes, you have to imagine your final picture/product even before you shoot it.

The Dogwood Alley

As I started driving back through the south side drive, I stumbled upon this tree. The contast of this view on my rear view mirror did call for a screeching halt! The entire sceen was dark excpet this dogwood tree that was perfectly lit up by the afternoon sun. As the day progressed, it was almost 3pm and I had to rush to the top of tunnel view to catch the storm. By now you would have already guessed that I got skunked at catching the storm. But still I decided to stick on till the end. And yes, I had to beg for extra time from my wife!

Up at the Tunnel View, I met a few photographers and we had a great time exchanging thoughts and opinions. It was the best way to wait for the lightning that never struck. I had a great time with bay area photographer – Nicholas Stienberg and James Ng who flew in from Florida.

Sunset was skunk at Tunnel View and that’s when we three started chasing the light on the Glacier Point road. We stopped at a roadside parking big enough for 3 cars and started shooting the dying light with a long lens. I was lucky to be carrying the 400mm bad boy. We kept running all around that spot to capture the after burn with different compositions and we returned with a handful of them.

LOL - Layers Of Light

The Stand
All in all, a good day to be a photographer.

Even though we were not successful in chasing the storm but I couldn’t call this attempt a total failure. I explored a lot in the park that I wouldn’t do on a regular day. It was fun shooting the flowers and treasuring the after burn. This day was quite nostalgic for me as it reminded me of a very similar day from February this year when I and my Dad set out for a day trip to Yosemite which was by far the most successful trip so far in 6 years. Check out my blog for images and the story from that day – 2015 – Yosemite On a Rainy Day

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