Rainbow on the Mist Trail

Part of the fun of climbing the stairs of the Mist Trail to the top of Vernal Falls is getting completely, absolutely soaking wet. (So take note and protect your photographic gear appropriately.) At least in the spring and early summer, when the water flow runs high. Things are tamer towards the end of the summer and into autumn, although unlike some of the falls Vernal runs year-round, as you can see in this autumn photo of Vernal Falls.

Another part of the fun is catching sight of the rainbows that always hover around this place.

We tend to think of Yosemite as “big nature” at its most iconic–untouched and superb. It’s a fact of politics that the Yosemite enclave is in fact pretty trammelled, although in some ways well preserved. Yosemite is branded nature with a “platform” in a unique way. Among American landmarks in nature, perhaps only the Grand Canyon has similar status. If you including constructed landmarks, the short list might also include the Statue of Liberty and the Golden Gate Bridge. Each of these things (or places) represents something to people, where or not the thing or place really matches its iconography.

Similarly, good photos of Yosemite are often artificial in some way. The artifice is used to make the photo look natural.

In this photo from the along the Mist Trail, and the photo below of looking down Nevada Falls, I used Photoshop to preserve the tonality of the very bright water while bringing out the colors in the rainbow a bit. I did this by double-processing the RAW files, adding a layer mask, and “painting” in the rainbow from the darker exposure.

Looking Down

View this photograph larger.

This entry was posted in Landscape, Photography, Photoshop Techniques, Yosemite.

One Comment

  1. Yosemite Indian June 22, 2006 at 3:06 am #

    Beautiful photos. Paiutes had a tale about a woman of the mist, she was a spirit. We also had little evil water spirits called Pah-oha (Water Babies). Some of our people believe the translation that Bunnell (the doctor who met and wrote about Chief Tenaya) tried to get was Pah-oha. Indian language is sometimes hard to translate…that is why I believe Pohono is really Pah-Oha.

    Beautiful Photos!

5 Trackbacks

  1. […] igital Photographs and Techniques from Harold Davis

    « Rainbow on the Mist Trail

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  2. […] e of the only water falls still flowing in Yosemite Valley. I like the contrast with the roaring waters of the falls in the spring, and (in this photograph) the way the water plunging over the […]

  3. […] one climbs it, although Vernal Falls will get you wet in the spring and not in the autumn (here’s a spring photo!). I am in the process of preparing this image for publication. When I loo […]

  4. […] s. View this image larger. I’d positively expect to see a rainbow when hiking the Mist Trail to Vernal Falls. It is not at all unusual to see a rainbow from the spray in Nevada Falls or […]

  5. […] the Merced River. They’re thick to the Vernal Falls bridge, and pretty thick up the Mist Trail. Muggles with cell phones and iPods in the wilderness. What’s the point of being in th […]

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