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.