Sunset glow on the Tuolumne River, Yosemite NP, CA, USA

Sunset glow on the Tuolumne River, Yosemite. On our last evening some high clouds to the west turned orange and red at sunset, reflecting that golden glow into the water. 35mm, 1/2 second at f/16, ISO 500.

Claudia and I just got back home after spending about ten days in the eastern Sierra and Yosemite high country for our Range of Light workshop.

We borrowed the name of this workshop from John Muir, who famously called the Sierra Nevada “The Range of Light.” It’s worth reading the full quote – Muir at his best:

“When I first enjoyed this superb view, one glowing April day, from the summit of the Pacheco Pass, the Central Valley, but little trampled or ploughed as yet, was one furred, rich sheet of golden compositae, and the luminous wall of the mountains shone in all its glory. Then it seemed to me the Sierra should be called not the Nevada, or Snowy Range, but the Range of Light. And after ten years spent in the heart of it, rejoicing and wondering, bathing in its glorious floods of light, seeing the sunbursts of morning among the icy peaks, the noonday radiance on the trees and rocks and snow, the flush of alpenglow, and a thousand dashing waterfalls with their marvelous abundance of irised spray, it still seems to be above all others the Range of Light.” — John Muir

Photography is all about light, of course, and we got the full Sierra treatment during our workshop, with a couple of colorful, glowing, long-lasting sunsets, two moonrises, a moonset, and golden reflections in creeks and rivers. And best of all, we had a great group of people to share this with. I hope the accompanying photos give you a small taste of the experience.

— Michael Frye

Sunset on an alpine tarn, Yosemite NP, CA, USA

Sunset on an alpine tarn, Yosemite. Our second-to-last sunset, when lots of high clouds to the west turned orange, red and pink, and colors lasted forever – or so it seemed. 50mm, 3 seconds at f/16, ISO 100.

Cascades, Tuolumne River, Yosemite NP, CA, USA

Cascades, Tuolumne River, Yosemite. I noticed the sun highlighting the zigzags in this cascade, and used a long lens (188mm) to zoom in on this pattern. 1/4 second at f/16, ISO 100.

Creek, flowers, and reflections, Inyo NF, CA, USA

Creek, flowers, and reflections, Inyo NF, California. The wind calmed long enough for me to capture focus-stacking sequence of five frames in order to get enough depth of field for this photo. 50mm, five frames focused at slightly different distances, each 1/2 second at f/16, ISO 100. Blended with Helicon Focus.

Moon rising over Mono Lake, CA, USA

Moon rising over Mono Lake, California. Three images stitched together with Lightroom’s Panorama Merge. 94mm, each frame 1/8 second at f/11, ISO 100.

Photographers above a cascade, Yosemite NP, CA, USA

Photographers above a cascade, Yosemite. 30mm, 1/4 second at f/16, ISO 100.

Related Posts: Over the Pass; How Do You Handle Unusual Conditions?

Michael Frye is a professional photographer specializing in landscapes and nature. He is the author or principal photographer of The Photographer’s Guide to Yosemite, Yosemite Meditations, Yosemite Meditations for Women, Yosemite Meditations for Adventurers, and Digital Landscape Photography: In the Footsteps of Ansel Adams and the Great Masters. He has also written three eBooks: Light & Land: Landscapes in the Digital Darkroom, Exposure for Outdoor Photography, and Landscapes in Lightroom: The Essential Step-by-Step Guide. Michael 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.