Last Tuesday night a small snowstorm moved through Yosemite. It’s been a dry winter so far, and this was the first significant snow in Yosemite Valley in quite awhile. It also looked like the storm might clear around sunrise, which was good timing.
So Claudia and I rose early Wednesday morning and drove up to the Valley, where we found about four inches of new snow. It was great to see the trees decked out in white, and to feel the snow underfoot.
Skies didn’t truly clear until late morning, but there were a few moments of beautiful light before that. I photographed Half Dome emerging from the mist with the clouds above turning color, then again in black and white as mist closed in. Half Dome disappeared for awhile, but later the sun broke through and illuminated Washington Column for a few minutes. And about 11:00 a.m. I photographed the sun poking through clouds above the south side of the Valley, silhouetting trees along the rim.
Then showers moved in again. But it looked like skies could clear before sunset, so we decided to hang around and see what happened. We ended up at Tunnel View, where we waited out off-and-on snow showers, occasionally catching glimpses of Half Dome or El Capitan through the mist. Then, late in the day, the clouds and mist dissipated a bit more, revealing Bridalveil Fall, and allowing the setting sun to light El Cap (see the photo at the top of this post).
This was such a fun day. It was super misty at times, coupled with fresh snow – a great combination. I hardly got to photograph any clearing storms in Yosemite last year, and then got treated to this day as soon as the new year arrived. Let’s hope there’s more to come.
— Michael Frye
P.S. In case you missed it yesterday, I just announced a new Lightroom webinar called Mastering Color. You can find out more here. And there’s an early-bird discount: Use the code LRCOLOR20 to get 20% off until Monday, January 15th.
Michael Frye is a professional photographer specializing in landscapes and nature. He lives near Yosemite National Park in California, but travels extensively to photograph natural landscapes in the American West and throughout the world.
Michael uses light, weather, and design to make photographs that capture the mood of the landscape, and convey the beauty, power, and mystery of nature. His work has received numerous awards, and appeared in publications around the world. He’s the author and/or principal photographer of several books, including Digital Landscape Photography: In the Footsteps of Ansel Adams and the Great Masters, and The Photographer’s Guide to Yosemite.
Michael loves to share his knowledge of photography through articles, books, workshops, online courses, and his blog. He’s taught over 200 workshops focused on landscape photography, night photography, digital image processing, and printing.