Wednesday, October 10, 2007

First Impressions of Yosemite

I recently took a day-long roadtrip to Yosemite National Park. I've never been there before, so I was quite excited to see it in person. My only exposure to the park prior to the visit was from an impressive Ansel Adams photography exhibit in Boston a few years back. Ever since then I've had an itch to see it in person.

The four hour drive there from Cupertino was interesting because the landscape changed so quickly. I got to see parts of California I haven't seen before--and realized that the majority of California east of the bay area smells like fertilizer.

When we arrived at one of the main gates, the entrance fee was $20 per car. It felt a bit awkward to hand a $20 out the window and be handed a map and tickets. It felt like I had entered an amusement park.

That feelng didn't go away as we drove along the loop in the valley. There were tourists everywhere (the irony, of course, is that I am one, too). So even if you'd wait ten minutes to take a picture and get the lighting just right, a busload of geriatrics would just slowly wander across the field and graze.

The park felt almost too manicured and accessible. While there is virtue in policies that ask visitors to stay on one path (and not disturb the wildlife), it really takes away from the experience if you are waltzing through an asphalt walkway in the middle of the wilderness.

I think the main problem was that I was in the valley, which is obviously much more developed than other areas. But to be honest, no encounter with tourists could overshadow what the park has to offer. It was good to see the more "touristy" things. The next time I'll go, I'll head up north and do some hiking instead.


Eric Nguyen said...

I got to know your blog through the Q9m review. Since I've stopped every now and then. Great photos that you took. Which camera are you using? Are you also use some special lens add on? Ofcouse if you don't mind to share the info.


A.H. Rajani said...

my interest in photography grows by the day. i've really only started taking pictures and learning about photography about a half year ago.

i bought Canon's Digital Rebel XT (8.1MP) awhile back. It's an entry-level DSLR but it takes fantastic pictures and has more than enough features for a novice like me. i outgrew the lens that it came with, so i now use one of three lenses:

Canon L Series f.2.8 200mm II - i bought this used from craigslist. a bit on the expensive side.

Canon L Series f.4 14-40mm - this is a great all around lens, it's ultra wide angle, so its useful for indoor group shots, landscapes, and such. also a bit expensive.

Canon f.2.5 50mm Macro - this comes in handy for close ups on flowers or capturing the texture of a certain object/subject. it's also very good for portraits. this one is quite resonably priced.

i'm starting to work on a post about photography, so i'll post a few pics of the lenses soon.

i think most of the magic happens when i process the images on the computer. i know photoshop fairly well, but i seldom airbrush or alter my images except for color balancing, cropping, rotating, and adjusting highlights/shadows. to be honest, i am more and more impressed with ACD System's software for photo professionals called "ACDSee Pro 2.0." i hardly open Photoshop anymore unless I need to do something with layers.

the other thing is that these pics are the pick of the litter -- so my lack of actual training in photography means i have 9 mediocre/bad pictures for every 1 that looks good.

A.H. Rajani said...

oh, the only filters i use are UV filters.

Eric Nguyen said...

Hey A.H., as always, thanks for such a detail reply. I'm new to photography also. I've been reading articles online to learn some tips. But I think i need to take on some action. And that means i need to get myself a DSLK instead of my SD550. (smile)

There's no doubt about how photo editing software can enhance the pictures but having a good camera and skills definitely help.

Anyhow, I'm looking forward to your post about photography.

-- Eric