Monday, April 27, 2009

Break in the Storm - High Sierras

The power of light is a fascinating thing. When we left Yosemite Valley that Memorial weekend morning, the sun was shining. As we headed towards Tioga Pass on HWY 120, the scenery was great and the massing white clouds made for some nice shots. I took lots of photos along the way. By the time we reached this turnout near the crest of the pass, the clouds had become dark. I liked the composition in my viewfinder, but there was no light on the foreground at all, making the image dull. I decided to wait for a break in the clouds, hoping the results would be worth the time. It took almost two hours. Tina fell asleep in the car. When she woke up I was still standing by my camera, afraid to leave for fear the sun would pop out and disappear before I could get back in time to trigger the shutter. By now I was going to get that shot no matter what. The "what" was the fact that I was in shorts and freezing my assets off. Tina said the sight that greeted her was me doing jumping jacks by my tripod to keep warm. I don't remember the jumping jacks, but I do remember it was getting really cold. She pulled some sweatpants from our luggage in the trunk and took them to me. Shortly afterwards the sun indeed peeked out and lit up the foreground and parts of the mountain in the background. Just as I hoped, it made the whole composition much more dynamic. I got my shot. After packing up as fast as I could we scurried for the pass and made the steep descent into Lee Vining, where we overnighted in a local motel. We found out the next morning snow had closed the road an hour or two after we crossed the summit. We barely made it through.

But it was worth it.

Tina recently completed an oil painting based on this image. She will post it soon on her blog

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