Salvatore Vasapolli is a nationally renowned award winning photographic artist. His images have appeared in national and international publications.
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Jordan Pond, Acadia National Park, Maine Workshops
Friday, August 31, 2012
Yosemite Photography Workshop
Our workshop began and ended with fantastic weather- cool mornings, clear skies with a few clouds and day temperatures in the 70's! This particular Yosemite workshop was our "Waterfall Spectacular"! It is the most strenuous workshop I offer in contrast to another Yosemite workshop held the week before which I call, "Yosemite Light": by comparison, the Light workshop is one of my physically easier workshops with little walking| parking lot to falls view, turnouts and overlooks design for people with health and physical limitations all within a short walk. Whereas, the Waterfalls Spectacular seeks out some of the best waterfalls in the park within a day hike and timed for when the falls are at their best water flow of summer!
Our first day began in late afternoon after we settled in and unpacked. Soon we made our first images of lower Yosemite Valley as we seek out its prime flowered meadow locations below El Capitan, Bridal Veil Falls and Yosemite's granite cliffs. The Merced River's flaccid pools served us reflections of both El Capitan and Bridal Veil Falls. We capped off our day at Tunnel View overlook made famous by Ansel Adams!
The hike to Upper Yosemite Falls on day two is must for Waterfalls Photographic Enthusiasts! We began early while the cool canyon air still flowed from the heights. Yosemite Falls ranks among the highest falls on earth and it is its upper fall's 1,430-foot (440 m)drop that is the largest of the two primary (upper and lower) falls. We get the best view of it right from the trail with Half Dome within view too! Above and past the falls, we could make out the railing of the precipice Yosemite Point with it's heavenly valley vistas. The trip to Yosemite Point depends on whether or not a group has the fitness and willingness to continue of which our group enthusiastically qualified. We soon pass over the footbridge of Yosemite Creek before it made it final distance to the brink in beautiful blueish-green coniferous pine forests of Ponderrosa Pines and Spruce. Wind sculptured Cedars stood sentinels to the granite dome we climb. A cedar weathered aged by hundreds of windy winter years greeted us along with one of the Yosemite Valley's best overlook! Half Dome's northface dominates the western valley framed by North Dome and Glacier Point.
Day three is recovery day of drive by shoots and short flat hikes. We begin by visiting Yosemite's largest Sequoia grove and tree, the Washington Tree within the Mariposa Grove. Our hike took us to the second largest tree in the grove and the 25th largest tree in the world the Grizzly Giant tree. Photographing this tree is a practice in perspective photography working with wide to telephoto lens. After a late lunch, we move to Yosemite Valley's most popular overlook, Glacier Point. This is our last stop and the best sunset location within the park. Our major subject here is the west side of Half Dome with the High Sierra range as the backdrop. The changing light here makes for dramatic images as the shadows move from valley floor to mountain tops and today's sunset is one of the most intense. At the end, we are treated to beautiful purple/magenta twilight.
We start the day shooting El Capitan western profile and photograph wildlife, including a grove and meadow known for it varied habitat and birds including California Quail and chicks, Blue Jays, Grosbeaks and Tanagers. As the valley begins to heat up, around nine o'clock, we break for breakfast to power so we can visit two of Yosemite's finest falls- the free falling Vernal and the impressive 500ft Nevada below Half Dome. Today's waterfalls hike on day four are one of our longest and most rewarding. As we enter the gorge of the Merced River, the air cools in the pine and spruce forests filled with the sound of cascading water. Our first fall is Vernal Falls. A rainbow at it's base tells us we have timed our visit at the right time! Surrounding the falls is a paradise of verdant green grasses and sedges. The Merced river's flows strong. We hike up to the brink and take sweeping vista images of water jetting out into space. Vernal Pool is a green blue gem photographic subject with a boulder filled outlet and the longest waterslide at its inlet. Next up is the impressively high Nevada Falls as high at Niagara Falls but a winding twisting ribbon of white foam. At the apex of the hike, we look out across Nevada Fall's massive headwall and bowl contrasting with Liberty Dome towering above. In the distance we see the south side of Half Dome and the upper Yosemite Valley! We take out time retracing our route back shooting scenes with a sun in a different location and lighting. We break for well earned showers and an early dinner tonight sharing stories of a well enjoyed trip.
On Day five, we shoot early scenes along the mountain top valleys such as Tuolumne Meadows with it's granite domes and lush flowered streams. After a brief stop at Tanaya Lake set in a glacial bottom our class parted ways and I was off to my next workshop on the Eastern Sierras!
If you love Yosemite, its falls and all it natural beauty you are welcome to join me on one of my workshops next year! Read More About Yosemite Workshops With Salvatore Here!