Several years ago, I was at Olmsted point in Yosemite, and was fascinated with the puzzle-piece-like shapes of glacial ‘polish’ – pieces of stone that had quite literally been polished – worn smooth – by the sliding of a glacier over the top of it. As I stood there, I tried to imagine what it must have been like during the age of glaciers covering that area. It certainly would have been very different from what I was seeing. But here was evidence that they had existed. And then, once they melted, over time, the surface of the granite began to break down, erode away. Yet why were there certain pieces that had not broken down yet? The scientist in me assumes they were harder sections of rock, and haven’t yet yielded to the elements. So they remain, and they stand out as these unusual shapes on the surface of the granite slopes all around Olmsted. I wanted to capture that story.
Yet I didn’t get my hyper-focal setting right, without many distance settings on the lens, and no hyperfocal chart to guide me. The background trees/hillside were not sharp enough. grrr. That always bothered me. And in the many times since I passed through or visited the area, the weather was not right, the time of day wrong, etc. So it was one of those images that just wasn’t coming together!
Finally, I got it right. The light/time of day were the same, even though I was just travelin’ through Yosemite on my way home and hadn’t thought about trying to get there for this image; even the weather/clouds was pretty much the same, and I had my chance to make the picture again. The photograph I made then is almost identical to the blog post, although I didn’t have a copy of it with me when I made this image. But I could remember the shape of the piece after all this time. We don’t always get a second chance to make a photo, which is why I teach ‘getting it right in the camera the first time’ – but mistakes can happen to anybody. Thankfully, in “human time” it hadn’t really worn down further since the first attempt.
Canon 1DS Mark III, Canon 24-105mm, f16 at 1/15. Processed in Lightroom and further in Nik’s Viveza 2.
Persistence is one trait photographers have to have. Excellent use of a wide angle and nailing the focus this time.
I couldn’t agree more. We’ve all seen pictures potential that for whatever reason isn’t happening at that moment. To help me remember all those photos I want to re-make or revisit, I have a folder on my computer where I store pictures that were a nice idea but either light was wrong, or time of year, or even a ‘miss’ like this one was. I call it “Sketches”. When I’m going somewhere, I look at the folder to remind me about any pictures at that place that I want to go try for again. I imported it into Lightroom, into a collection, with keywords on the pictures, for any film images. For digital files, I just add them to the collection. It’s made it easy to review. Thanks for your comments.
That’s a great idea to have a folder of idea photos. Thanks!
I have two little cueits that would love an apron+ a bracelet to match! Very fun & love your photos! All day I dream about getting a supafly camera and taking pictures of my kiddos.
Great image and a wonderful story to go with it. I should think that eventually it will all erode away. Wonderful how we can see nature evolve. During our lifetime, maybe only 1/4 inch gets taken away from the remaining smooth part. What’s happening there will take tens of thousands of years.
You nailed it this time, for sure. My favorite thing about this image is the warm quality of light on the stone surface. Just lovely. Well done Brenda. (Maybe it was a little birthday treat, eh?)
Hi Bob – Yes, eventually it will all be rough granite, worn by time and elements. I’d love to come back in 10,000 years and see what Olmsted would look like then…
A funny thing happened after I left there. The sun drops behind a ridge so you lose that very last great light on the rocks there. So I packed up and headed on, and 20 minutes later the sky was glowing pink and orange and there was fog in the valleys below me – and do you think I could find a clear opening with a view anywhere? NO! I drove like a madwoman looking for a viewpoint, a turnout, but in that stretch between Olmsted and Crane Flat, there are only glimpses of the valleys through the trees, unless you get out a hike quite a ways. It was a real teaser. But I had the image that I had for so long wanted so I really couldn’t complain. Although I did whine a little bit…:)