Selection of July 2023: Bridalveil Fall Winter Into Spring by Charlotte Gibb

Bridalveil Fall Winter Into Spring by Charlotte Gibb

Yosemite National Park, and Bridalveil Fall specifically, has been extensively photographed. Yet, I haven’t lost that sense of profound awe and wonder for the place. It never ceases to leave me breathless.

Bridalveil Fall flows year-round. During the spring, as the high country's snow melts, it roars with vigor. However, on the day I captured this photograph, the water flow was subdued, creating a tranquil and serene setting. It had been another dry Winter, and the river level was also low.

It was very early in the morning as I wandered along the Merced River. Mornings in Yosemite hold a unique charm; it's a time of quiet and serenity as the valley awakens. While most are sipping their first cup of coffee, I'm already out exploring. On this brisk early Spring morning, I had the riverbank all to myself. The lighting conditions were far from dramatic; in fact, quite the opposite. The light was very soft and colors were muted. The park was undergoing some maintenance work, resulting in a forest floor littered with fallen trees and heavy equipment in the vicinity. Nevertheless, being present on that chilly early spring morning was an undeniable privilege, and I was determined to make the most of it.

Then, a cloud of misty fog, a spontaneous gift of cold, damp mornings in the park, rolled in swiftly, leaving me with only a moment to select my composition. Moving quickly, I decided to create a balanced composition, centering the waterfall in the frame to accentuate the peaceful, meditative feeling of the moment and employed a long exposure to blur the cascade. The fog lingered only a few minutes, then evaporated.

Post-processing was relatively straightforward: dodging to enhance the highlights in both the waterfall and mist, brightening their essence, while using burning techniques to temper the excessive brightness in the foreground, taming the unruly forest floor. A slight crop left and right eliminated a few border distractions, and there you have it, the essence of that memorable moment in Yosemite National Park. 

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