Yosemite Falls is the highest waterfall in North America. Located in Yosemite National Park in the Sierra Nevada of California, it is a major attraction in the park, especially in late spring when the water flow is at its peak.
The total 2,425 feet (739 m) from the top of the upper fall to the base of the lower fall qualifies Yosemite Falls as the sixth highest waterfall in the world, though with the recent discovery of Gocta Cataracts, it appears on some lists as seventh.
Upper Yosemite Fall: The 1,430-foot (440 m) plunge alone is among the twenty highest waterfalls in the world. Trails from the valley floor and down from other park areas outside the valley lead to both the top and base of Upper Yosemite Fall. The upper fall is formed by the swift waters of Yosemite Creek, which, after meandering through Eagle Creek Meadow, hurl themselves over the edge of a hanging valley in a spectacular and deafening show of force.
As most of my landscape photo trips, I took advantage of a business trip to extend my stay and get to take some pictures. I traveled to San Jose in California where I rented a car and got to Yosemite National Park after a circa 4-hour drive. I spent only 3 days there, mainly visiting Yosemite Valley, staying at one of the hotels right outside the park’s entrance, only a 30-min drive from the center of the valley itself.
I came pretty prepared. Having seen Ansel Adam’s pictures and favorite locations many times, I got ahold of a key resource: Michael Frye’s “The Photographer’s Guide to Yosemite.” If you’re into photography and are going to Yosemite for the first time (or even if you’ve been there already, I’d say) you should get it. Maps, photo locations, tips, all is there, very well organized. Saved me lots of time, allowing me to be very effective and to make the most of my short stay.
It was May, so it was packed with tourists and the falls were at their best. In order to extend my days and get advantage of the best light, I decided not to sleep much, getting up at about 4am or earlier.
The morning I got the shot I left the hotel at about 4:30am and went straight to Cathedral Beach to get some shots of El Capitan hit by sunlight at its top. I then went to Swinging Bridge, where you can get the beautiful and quiet view of the Yosemite Falls reflected in the Merced river you can see here. It was really calm and the only other person I found at the location at such time (06:58am according to the EXIF data) was another photographer trying to get the shot, too.
It was hard to control the flare on the right hand side and I did my best to do so. I’m reasonably happy with how it turned out in this shot.
Although I bracketed as usual, no combination of the bracketed shows made me happy, so I only used one exposure on Lightroom. I applied the lens profile, opened up some shadows, decreased the highlights and increased clarity an vibrance. I also removed some spots from the river (leaves) to get a cleaner reflection effect.