Upper Yosemite Fall and rainbow, December 2005
We all have a lot to be thankful for. Today, I’m especially grateful for all of you. I really appreciate your readership, comments, and support. Your participation, insights, ideas, and passion for photography make writing this blog fun!
And… I’m thankful for water. A few small storms have recently revived Yosemite Falls after a long absence, and it’s good to have it back. Last winter was exceptionally dry, so I’m hoping that the storms continue, and we have lots of that precious resource, water, throughout this winter and spring.
I hope you all have a wonderful holiday, with good food and lots of love in the company of family and friends. Don’t eat too much. Okay, it’s Thanksgiving — eat as much as you want!
— Michael Frye
Even if you know a program well it helps to have a comprehensive guide, a book that covers everything from A-Z, so you can look up a keyboard shortcut, remember how to do that thing that you only do once a year, or learn some new tricks.
My favorite Lightroom bible has been Martin Evening’s The Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4 Book. I still think that’s a great resource, but I might have a new favorite: Piet Van den Eynde’s new ebook called Lightroom 4 Unmasked.
This is a truly comprehensive guide to Lightroom 4, from setting up and importing, to organizing in the Library Module, processing images, mapping them, exporting them or publishing them to Flickr or Facebook, and printing.
If you’re new to Lightroom there’s a lot of great information here to help you get started. For example, the Lightroom Do’s and Don’ts (page 20) offers some invaluable advice to help you make the most of the program and avoid some common pitfalls.
Even if you know Lightroom well you’ll undoubtedly discover some new tips. One that I’m anxious to try is on page 238 — using Lightroom’s Publish Services to automatically put images on my iPhone and iPad. Cool — I didn’t know you could do that.
This is another ebook by Craft & Vision, the publisher of my two previous ebooks. But this one is different. Craft & Vision is calling this a “big book,” and it is that: a full 312 spreads. Because this is roughly four times the size of their typical ebooks, the price for Lightroom 4 Unmasked is higher than normal — $20. But until midnight on Tuesday, November 27th you can get it for only $15. Just use the code LR4FIVE on checkout.
Oaks in El Capitan Meadow yesterday
During last weekend’s snowstorm I saw maples and cottonwoods dropping leaves in bunches, and wondered how much fall color would survive. But while teaching a private workshop yesterday I saw that there was still some good color in Yosemite Valley. The oaks are in great shape, as you can see from this photograph in El Capitan Meadow that I grabbed yesterday afternoon. Most of the dogwoods also kept their leaves and their color. But the maples are now mostly bare, and some of the cottonwood leaves changed from vibrant yellow to rusty brown. Strangely though, some dogwoods, cottonwoods, and oaks are still partially green. We even saw some dark green cottonwoods near Swinging Bridge—an odd sight for November 14th.
While the peak color has passed, those green leaves suggest that we might still see some good fall foliage in the valley for another week or two. It’s been a strange, late, yet beautiful autumn in Yosemite.
— Michael Frye
Related Posts: Early November Magic in Yosemite; A Beautiful Autumn in Yosemite; Autumn Progress in Yosemite
Sunset from Tunnel View, Saturday, 4:48 p.m.
My friend Jeff Grandy talks about “edges of seasons” — how the transitions between seasons can create great opportunities for photographs. Early November in Yosemite Valley is one of those transition periods, as fall blends into winter. Autumn color lingers in the oaks and cottonwoods, the sun tracks lower and creates interesting lighting angles, and sometimes the first winter storms generate clouds, mist, or even snow. It might be my favorite time of year in Yosemite.
This year the autumn color was late, but exceptional, with all four major species of deciduous trees turning at the same time. That in itself would be great, but then, at the peak of fall color, a storm brought snow last Thursday night, Friday, and Saturday. Friday was gorgeous, but Saturday was even better: a snow squall ended just before sunrise, the sun broke through shortly afterward, and soon we had a classic Yosemite clearing storm combined with snow and fall color.
El Capitan, California black oaks, and the Merced River, 2007
Since my post last week the fall color has multiplied, and it’s beautiful in Yosemite Valley right now. There are still some green leaves, so the color overall is just short of peak, but it’s already one of the best autumn displays I’ve seen in the park, with the black oaks, big-leaf maples, dogwoods, and cottonwoods all turning simultaneously. The oaks seem to be particularly nice this year. The accompanying photograph was made in 2007, but the oaks look just like that now.
Forecasts call for colder and wetter weather to arrive today and tomorrow. Precipitation is expected to be light, but temperatures will drop, and we may get a dusting of snow on those yellow and gold leaves Friday or Saturday. If the leaves survive the cold and possible wind we should have great color through the weekend and into next week.
Related Post: Autumn Progress in Yosemite
Michael Frye is a professional photographer specializing in landscapes and nature. He is the author and photographer of The Photographer’s Guide to Yosemite, Yosemite Meditations, and Digital Landscape Photography: In the Footsteps of Ansel Adams and the Great Masters, plus the eBooks Light & Land: Landscapes in the Digital Darkroom, and Exposure for Outdoor Photography. He has written numerous magazine articles on the art and technique of photography, and his images have been published in over thirty countries around the world. Michael has lived either in or near Yosemite National Park since 1983, currently residing just outside the park in Mariposa, California.