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Mirror Lake is a popular attraction in Yosemite Valley. The lake is a seasonal phenomenon, fed by snow melt and gone completely by late summer. It is the final remnant of a lake that covered the entire Yosemite Valley floor at the end of the Ice Age. It is fed by Tenaya Creek, which then flows down to meet the Merced River. Though uphill, the hike to Mirror Lake is an easy one mile walk. The creek parallels the trail much of the way. While photographing reflections in Mirror Lake was my primary goal, I couldn’t resist stopping several times to capture interesting spots along the small, fast flowing creek. There is something very attractive to me about the undulations in flowing water, especially when smoothed out by a slow shutter speed.
Normally, I choose a wide angle lens to photograph streams. Because of the limited space and cluttered background, I chose a longer focal length to help isolate this short segment of the stream. I doubt I was conscious of it at the time, but the boulders on each side of the stream line up along the diagonal of the frame.
If you want to photograph water in Yosemite National Park, I suggest coming in early to mid-spring. Summer brings the hordes of tourists, and the waterfalls are all but dried up by fall. Early to mid-April is the time for redbud trees, lupines and California poppies to be in bloom. It’s also possible to get brief snowstorms that make for dynamic photo opportunities. By May things have calmed down, and the dogwoods are in bloom.
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Dimitri Vasileiou • Editor