A River Above the Trees

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This image was taken in a light rain, last month, in Yosemite. Weather often chases the tourists back to their cars or to the lodge but that’s often when the best photographs are to be had. The way that weather interacts with the narrow valley walls is just one of the magical properties of Yosemite. Also unique is the ability to gain a vantage point that allows you to watch the interaction. This photograph is exactly that. What struck me on this image is the way the waterfall appears to turn to mist and then flow like a river over the tops of the trees.

From a technical perspective this image brought a few challenges. Their wasn’t anything special about the exposure. It was taken with my Canon 5D with the 100-400 attached and zoomed to 285mm. The exposure was 1/3 second at f/11 and ISO 100. The problem was the mist in the air and the very soft light. Straight from the camera the image was very flat. After adjusting the black point in Adobe Lightroom I moved into Photoshop CS4 and converted the image to LAB mode. I used the Brightness/Contrast tool to adjust the contrast in the Lightness channel only. The result was an immediate improvement in image contrast without any color shift. Once that adjustment was made I returned the image to RGB and processed it like any other image.