El Capitan 1
Additional images can be viewed here.
There is no doubt that Yosemite National Park contains some of the most iconic images of the American West. Ansel Adam and numerous other landscape photographers have made their artistic statement in Yosemite. Therefore, it is ironic that your typical tour guide will emphasize that tour participants may, in fact, not capture a single iconic image during a 4 or 5 day stay. I can vouch that this statement is accurate more often than not.
When Yosemite is not "tourist beautiful", it can be down right miserable with fog, low hanging clouds, rain, and mud. I've hiked around the valley floor in weather conditions so awful that our group may have been the only persons wandering around the valley floor that day. Actually, it's a quite peaceful experience. I've witnessed tour busses filled with visitors from other countries, drive through the park and the tourists not see a single iconic image. Of course the busses were only driving non-stop through the park so the visitors didn't take away any experience from their visit.
There are also times when the park is just drop dead gorgeous. This last fall represented such a time. Summer was over, it wasn't quite fall, but the weather was perfect. This is not necessarily conducive to good photography but it did make for a beautiful trip. As a result, I focused on shooting a full range of images including some iconic images.
I actually focused on obtaining a portfolio of images, not any iconic image in particular although I lucked out and captured a few. Not necessarily up to the standard of some of the great photographers, but their mine and that's all that matters. Remember, it's the experience that's important. Some times the good weather conditions just simply improve your attitude. I even ended up taking some night images and Fern Spring images that I might not have taken in lousy weather conditions.
The above image shot with a 8-16 zoom lens at 8mm on a cropped frame, 16.2 MP DSLR mounted on a carbon fiber tripod with ball head. While the portfolio of images may look simple, there are a number of field techniques that I used including, graduated neutral density filters, exposure bracketing, exposure stacking, image stitching, and focus stacking. A tripod is an absolute necessity for this type of photography. The images were further enhanced in post processing which included cropping, edge sharpening, color enhancement, polarization, and application of several different plug-in filters to produce a final photograph that looked like what I saw and experienced when I took the image.