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.
View this photograph larger.