This past December marked my first trip to Yosemite National Park in the winter. I had been watching the weather for months, waiting for the right weekend to drop everything and head out. My friend Mark Gvazdinskas (if you haven't done so already, check out his work) and I took off on a Friday afternoon, hoping for the best - the forecast showed up to a few inches of snow in Yosemite Valley. Mark had never been to Yosemite and I'd never spent much time in the valley itself, so it was a bit of a learning experience for the both of us. Temperatures on Friday night dropped well below freezing, and we woke up to a beautiful, clear winter morning - not ideal, but what can you do? A day spent outside is a day well spent. We continued to poke around the valley, photographing a bit, but otherwise just soaking in the beauty of the valley. When it finally started to snow on Sunday, we had to head back home, but not without stopping a few times along the drive home. In the high country of Yosemite, we found a pull-off that looked promising and decided to get out and look around in the forest. There had been a fire a few years before and the undergrowth was thick with young ponderosa pine trees. Ponderosas are one of my favorite trees to photograph, especially in snow. Their naturally red appearance contrasts the white and blue tones of the snow that can create absolutely wonderful scenes, so when I found this grove of ponderosas, I became quite excited. This composition originally sparked my interest due to the range of life present. The two old growth trees stood in a bed of young trees, while the dead looked on in the distance. Immediately, I grabbed my gear and set up the shot on my 8x10 camera. By the time I had found the composition, set up the shot, composed, focused, and exposed a sheet of film, an inch of snow had fallen on my vehicle. Keeping the camera dry and free of ice on the ground glass was incredibly difficult, but the scene turned out exactly as I had imagined.
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