What I Learned About Photography While In Yosemite

Tripods make a huge difference. It’s just one more cumbersome step I now need to take. That sucks.


I learned something very surprising about photography this weekend. A tripod makes a big difference, even while out in bright sunlight!

I didn’t think that was true. Doesn’t faster shutter speed compensate?

No. Tripods make a huge difference. It’s just one more cumbersome step I now need to take. That sucks.

If your camera is still, shots turn out sharper. Sharpness is critical. No shot is sharp at every point, but every photo needs at least one area in sharply in focus.

There were more tripods at Yosemite (our group and individuals) than anyplace I’ve ever been! They are the most abused piece of photo gear. Often one or more legs was in water or sand or scratching for a toehold on a convenient rock.


Half Dome from Glacier Point - Yosemite National Park-w1920-h1400

I took lots of HDR shots. Multiple images (7 or 9 for me on this trip) are combined by computer to provide a single image with more detail in both brights and darks than cameras or monitors can natively produce. The color range is compressed. You have to carefully process these shots or they look phony.

The tripod provided my best HDR results ever. The ads say HDR programs compensate for handheld shots. The results say tripods do better.

I did some (not enough) work with neutral density filters. Think gray sunglasses.

This allows long exposures in daylight. That’s how you turn flowing water into dreamy white ribbons or make a lake with light ripples look perfectly still and reflective.

Yosemite National Park Three Brothers River View-w1920-h1400

I am not usually a photo printer. There are a few of these I’d like to hang. Maybe three or four different looks of the same basic shot? I mull slowly.

2 thoughts on “What I Learned About Photography While In Yosemite”

  1. Gorgeous shots. Although to my eye they look like paintings not photographs. The top one looks like a photo. The one with all the photographers and their trusty tripods. Then again, I’m one of those people who can look at a piece of 8mm film and say it looks ‘jerky’. I know you’re not ‘supposed’ to be able to tell but I guess my eye is different.
    I think printing them and hanging them on the wall is an excellent idea.

  2. Spectacular shots. Love your photography. I have a really good tripod that I bought my freshman year of college (1973) and I still have it. Haven’t used it much lately, but I think I’ll be dragging it around with me now.

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