Pothole Dome at sunset in winter, Tuolumne Meadows, Yosemite National Park

The Sierra high country is timeless. These granite mountains, these meadows, and even this tree sentinel have been here longer than I’ve been alive and will be here much longer after I am gone. They stand day after day, month after month, year after year. Not waiting for anything, not expecting anything. No deadlines, no schedules, no Mondays, Wednesdays, or Saturdays.

If you spend enough time in the mountains, you begin to tap into that endless cycle. The feeling of “having to do something” slips away, along with pressures, schedules, and responsibilities. I don’t know anything quite so pacifying and relieving as connecting with the stillness of the mountains.

Tech notes on this photo
Nikon D7000
Tokina 12-24 f/4 at 12mm
f/9 – Sharpest spot on my lens, still adequate for full DOF with my crop sensor
1 sec.
Shady White Balance
Lee soft 3-stop GND filter

In Raw Converter (Nikon Capture NX2)
– Processed single raw file twice, once for sky and once for the foreground and tree
– Global contrast for added pop
– Local brightness/contrast adjustments to brighten tree, enrich the sky, add contrast to granite

In Photoshop:
– Manual blend of two tiffs for master composite using an initial gradient mask, refined using a luminosity mask to paint in tree detail in the sky
– Selective sharpening of the granite, the tree, and the mountains
– Soft light burn / dodge layer, burned granite slightly
– Curves layer to add a little more saturation and oomph to sky
– Color balance layer to remove slight excess warm tint

All the best!


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