Elm tree in Cook's Meadow at sunrise

I visited Yosemite for the first time last October. I was there for a work conference, but tried to get as much photography in as I could (I may have missed a few morning lectures, lol.) I know this is probably not the most unique location, but given I only had four half days to explore I decided to stick to the Valley where I had the most opportunity for success. This image speaks to me because of the way the light illuminates the fall color of elm tree. At this time of year, and in this morning light, it is the star of the show, while the peaks( which often are the main subject) are playing backup.

What technical feedback would you like if any?


What artistic feedback would you like if any?


Pertinent technical details or techniques:

Blend of two images in order to remove sun flare, otherwise basic contrast and color adjustments in photoshop. Also mild color grading in the mountains in the background.

Taken with 5DMkIII, 24-70 F2.8 L, ISO 100, 24mm, f16, 0.3 sec

You may only download this image to demonstrate post-processing techniques.
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Real fine take and an original look at the valley. A most enjoyable image in some beautiful light.

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That’s fantastic Andy. Love that light.

You could play with darkening the sky some to get a bit more color there; I’ll toss a rough example below. (BTW, I noticed banding at the top (maybe from the blend?) and a dust bunny when editing.)

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Love the golden hues of there FG. A nice different take on this iconic location. Small nit- there is a little dark banding at the top and a couple dust spots in the sky.

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Andy, nice composition, and I like the underlying concept of this image. This is a very dramatic scene with a lot of potential. I like that you put the tree dead center, this is a case where that is very effective. I do like what @John_Williams had done with his re-work , it helps the sky a lot.

I wish the sun-star was crisper and had smaller light rays. I shoot Canon myself, and like to do sunstars. What I have found is that my 24-70mm f2.8 lens does not produce very pleasing sunstars, but my 16-35mm f4 does a much better job with creating nice crisp sunstars. I believe this has to do with how the aperture blades are configured in the lenses.If you have a 16-35mm lens you might want to experiment with which lenses of yours produce the best shapes in sunstars.

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First of all, welcome to NPN!

What a great take on this well photographed Elm tree! (I posted a winter image not too long ago!) I’m glad you got the opportunity, and you took good advantage of it. And I have no issues what so ever capturing iconic things - If I was to visit some place for the very first time, possibly the only time, and you don’t have years of time to explore unique and creative things… then by all means, grab the memories and take advantage of the opportunities of such a glorious place.

I really like the warmth and the striking back lighting of the tree. Not to much to add to the suggestions already. I like John’s edit and bring out some detail in the clouds with more color, less brightness. I too wish for a more brilliant sun start - but one can’t be too picky…

Beautiful image and take away. Glad you were able to enjoy the Valley.


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Thank you all for your feedback! I plan on making some corrections and taking other things into consideration going forward. I really appreciate it!