Winter Trees, Fog, Yosemite Valley, California 1990
This photograph was made two days before Christmas in 1990. It was on this trip that I first attended the legendary Bracebridge Dinner (written in large part by Ansel Adams) at the historic Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite Valley. A few years before, a group of close photography friends decided we would all enter the lottery to attend the Bracebridge Dinner. (At that time there were only three Bracebridge offerings each year, and demand greatly exceeded capacity). Our agreement was that if one of us was fortunate enough to win a table in the lottery, we would all attend. This all came together in 1990. Since we were all interested in photography, we stayed additional days in Yosemite Valley explore photographically, along with having a fantastic time attending the memorable dinner and performance.
It was the coldest time I have ever experienced in Yosemite Valley. The low temperature got down to 6 degrees Fahrenheit as I recall. Some of us were staying in very rustic, and in those days' affordable, Curry Village cabins. Without going into great detail, I can only say that the flush toilets stopped working as the drainpipes were frozen!
Along with the cold, we were fortunate to have snowy conditions. As I have mentioned in past newsletters, El Capitan Meadow is one of my favorite areas of Yosemite Valley - especially if there is snow. This image, Winter Trees, Fog, Yosemite Valley, was made one afternoon as a few of us from the group were wandering about El Capitan Meadow enjoying the winter wonderland. I can still hear the cold snow crunching under my boots and feel the sting of the frigid breeze on my skin. As is often the case when the temperature begins to change, mist and fog can quickly form and then dissipate in various parts of the valley. I had been studying this group of three oak trees. I liked the dark curving gestures of the trunks in contrast with the snow covered meadow, but felt something was missing. Then the mist began to appear!
I quickly set up my 4x5 Linhof Technika camera with my 120 mm Nikkor-SW lens. I used the slightly wide angle lens to try and give the dark tree trunks a sense of presence hoping that the mist would add a tonal separation and create an illusionary sense of depth by lightening and obscuring the details in the background. I had to work quickly as the fog was constantly moving. As is the case with many photographs that I make in the snow, I used my Wratten #12 yellow filter in an attempt to reveal the subtle modulation in the snow, which can be so difficult to render in soft light. The negative is challenging to print in terms of balancing the tones of the near tree trunks as well as the distant cliff and row of trees at the bottom.
It was a cold day, but I am glad that we decided to bundle up and defy the frigid weather, rather than spending the afternoon indoors by a cozy warm fire. I hope you enjoy the image!
This silver gelatin, selenium toned, print is approximately 13-1/4 x 10-1/14", personally printed by me (as are all my prints), processed to current archival standards, signed, mounted, and matted to 16x20" on 100 percent rag museum board.
All prints are carefully prepared and packaged in specially designed protective shipping boxes, and shipped fully insured via UPS ground.
Normally there is a long waiting period for John's original prints. This is a rare opportunity to obtain a print with a short waiting period.