Archive for the ‘New Images’ Category

Mirrors and Ripples

Sunday, July 26th, 2015
Clouds and Mammoth Peak reflected in an alpine tarn, Yosemite NP, CA, USA

Clouds and Mammoth Peak reflected in an alpine tarn, Yosemite (1/90th of a second)

I love mirror reflections. The symmetry they create, with the bottom of the photograph mimicking the top, almost automatically adds repetition and creates patterns, helping to unify the image and give it rhythm.

The photograph above is a good example. I made this about two weeks ago near Tioga Pass, with some fantastic clouds passing by late in the afternoon. It’s not a perfect mirror, as the water is slightly rippled, but it’s close enough. The clouds and their reflections form a big X through the picture, a pattern that echoes some of the diagonals in the mountains. This design draws your eye from the middle of the frame out to the corners, giving the image a sense of dynamic energy. None of that would happen without the mirror reflections.

On the other hand, I love rippled water too. (more…)

Back From the High Country

Thursday, July 23rd, 2015
Sunset clouds reflected in an alpine tarn, Yosemite NP, CA, USA

Sunset clouds reflected in an alpine tarn, Saturday evening. This was a spectacular sunset that seemed to last forever. Believe it or not I actually toned down the pink color – it was pretty intense.

My Hidden Yosemite workshop with The Ansel Adams Gallery ended Sunday evening, and since then I’ve been catching up on work – and sleep! The days are long this time of year, which meant early starts and late evenings during the workshop, but it was all worth it, and we had a wonderful time.


Cloud Patterns

Monday, July 6th, 2015
Half Dome from Glacier Point, late afternoon, Yosemite NP, CA, USA

Half Dome from Glacier Point, late afternoon, Yosemite; for a brief moment the clouds formed a zigzag pattern above Half Dome.

Last week I mentioned that the weather forecast called for monsoonal moisture to move up into the Sierra Nevada from the south, with possible showers and thunderstorms. And sure enough, things unfolded pretty much as predicted. Rain was very localized; we got sprinkled on a couple of times at our house in Mariposa, but other nearby areas got dumped on when they received a direct hit from a thunderstorm.

Wednesday night brought thunder to the foothills near our house – that’s when I made the lightning photograph from my last post. But we saw interesting clouds all week. Claudia and I made two trips to Glacier Point, and I also photographed some beautiful moonlit clouds from our driveway, and made a trip into the lower foothills, where I found some striking, colorful sunbeams.

What do all these photographs have in common – aside from clouds? Patterns. All of these images have some kind of repeating pattern or design in the clouds.



Friday, July 3rd, 2015
Lightning over the Sierra Nevada foothills, Mariposa County, CA, USA

Lightning over the Sierra Nevada foothills, Mariposa County, CA, USA

We had some pre-Fourth-of-July fireworks here Wednesday night. At about 11:00 p.m. I let our dog Rider out before going to bed, and noticed flashes in the sky to the south. Sleep could wait! Claudia and I headed to a nearby viewpoint on Triangle Road, and saw lightning in three separate storm cells to the southeast, south, and southwest.

When watching thunderstorms you often only see cloud-to-cloud lightning, but on this night we could see some distinct bolts hitting the ground. I watched closely to try to determine where the most lightning activity was taking place. My first try didn’t work, but then another spot further to the right seemed to become more active, so I pointed my camera there, locked the tripod, and captured a series of 30-second exposures (each at f/9.5, 800 ISO). This photograph is a blend of five separate frames capturing seven or eight lightning bolts.


Photographic Memories

Sunday, June 21st, 2015
Sunbeams in a redwood forest, northern California coast

Sunbeams in a redwood forest, northern California coast

Today is the solstice, the official start of summer. It’s felt like summer for weeks here in the Sierra foothills. It’s been hot, and dry. Four (!) fires broke out near Mariposa and Oakhurst Thursday; fortunately they were all subdued quickly.


Planning for Flexibility

Sunday, June 14th, 2015
Redwoods and rhododendrons, Del Norte Redwoods SP, CA, USA

Redwoods and rhododendrons along the northern California coast

As promised, here are some more images from our time up in the redwoods. I just love this area, with all its damp, primeval moodiness. Claudia and I were there for almost two weeks, and experienced a great variety of weather, including fog, overcast, sun, clouds, and some colorful sunsets. And on the last day of the workshop we went to a beach near Trinidad during a minus tide, where we found some beautiful pools and reflections, and easy access to starfish and other tide-pool creatures.

The variable weather required flexibility. Anyone who’s taken a workshop with me knows that I rarely tell the group very far in advance where we’ll be going. I’d rather wait until the last minute to assess the weather, then go where conditions seem most promising.


Tuolumne Clouds

Friday, June 12th, 2015
Cloud formation reflected in a pond, Tuolumne Meadows, Yosemite NP, CA, USA

Cloud formation reflected in a pond, Tuolumne Meadows, Yosemite NP, CA, USA

Claudia and I did head up to the high country yesterday afternoon, and found some great clouds. We drove through a nice downpour near Crane Flat, then continued up to Tuolumne Meadows, where I photographed a beautifully-shaped cloud reflected in one of the ponds (above). Later a storm cell formed over the peaks to the east, creating another dramatic cloud formation (below). That cell gradually dissipated, but some clouds still lingered until sunset (the last photo below). It was a really fun afternoon – I’m glad I finally made it up there!


Back From the Redwoods

Sunday, June 7th, 2015

Sea stacks at sunset , Redwood NP, CA, USA

Sea stacks at sunset , Redwood NP, CA, USA

We had a wonderful time last week during our redwoods workshop. It was a really nice, fun group, with great camaraderie and lots of laughter, aided and abetted by the relaxed atmosphere at the fabulous Requa Inn. We got some fog, which is always a great complement to the forest scenes, and were also treated to a couple of beautiful sunsets along the coast.


Back in the Redwood Country

Saturday, May 30th, 2015
Sea stacks at sunset along the northern California coast, Redwood NP, CA, USA

Sea stacks at sunset along the northern California coast, Redwood National Park

Claudia and I are back in the redwoods, scouting and preparing for our workshop next week. I feel such a deep connection to this damp, lush, wild, primeval landscape. It feels like coming home.

While it’s common to find fog or low stratus here, over the past couple of days the stratus deck has been unusually persistent, staying all day instead of burning off in the afternoon. This is great for photographing redwoods, where fog often adds the perfect complement to the forest scenes. It doesn’t work so well for coastal landscapes, where sunlight usually helps. But we did see the sun poke underneath the stratus at the last moment one evening, as you can see from the photograph above. And I’ve included a few forest photographs below. I’m really looking forward to the workshop!

— Michael Frye


Misty Morning

Sunday, May 24th, 2015
Pines, sunbeams, and mist, Cook's Meadow, Yosemite NP, CA, USA

Pines, sunbeams, and mist, Cook’s Meadow, 6:13 a.m.

Yosemite got some rain yesterday. In fact we’ve had a lot of unsettled weather this month, with frequent showers in the afternoon, especially in the high country. Tioga Pass opened May 4th, but has since closed and reopened several times due to snow. The total precipitation hasn’t amounted to much, but every bit helps, and we’ve even had enough rain here in the foothills to keep the grass from turning brown – at least in some places.

I haven’t had much time to get up to the park and photograph the weather, but after the rain yesterday it seemed likely that there would be mist in the meadows this morning, so Claudia and I rose early and drove up to Yosemite Valley. When I say early, I mean really early. Sunrise is at 5:40 a.m. these days, which meant leaving home at 4:30!