+RP - Icon Alert - Tunnel View, Yosemite



Critique Style Requested: Standard

The photographer is looking for generalized feedback about the aesthetic and technical qualities of their image.


I suspect most photographers try to avoid crowds and overly photographed locations. I’d be lyin’ if I said I enjoyed the crowds… but there are places I will always check out because you never know what might happen or what opportunities might come up.

I was here at Tunnel View the morning after a day of rain and I knew the fog would be prevelant throughout the valley. Me, and 50 of my closest friends also knew this… LOL.

This scene is not unique and I can only imagine how many have this exact same image. On the flip side, I don’t care if anyone else has this image or similar. I don’t care because I have it for me.

Specific Feedback

Scene was captured prior to the sun rising and so light was still flat and the granite wall and Bridal Veil falls are on the shadow side of sunrise. Needless to say a bit of dodging and other adjustments to up the luminosity.

Your feedback on the b&w processing and of course composition.

Technical Details

Nikon D800E, 28-300mm @180mm, f/10 .8s iso 200. Single frame


I mentioned my 50 close friends in attendance… LOL. Here’s a phone snap of the crowd.

Can you spot NPN’s own William Neil and Alex Noriega? They were there too leading workshops. I wonder if any other NPN members were there?

I will say this about these large gatherings… it is always fun to chat with other photographers, meet and make new friends, etc… I probably stayed here much longer than I might have otherwise, just chatting with folks…

It is a classic Bridalveil from Tunnel View fog scene, beautifully composed and processed. I am there somewhere in your photograph. The fog that morning was delicious.

Lon, a stunning take from this iconic location. The fog of course like many weather events in this area can boost the often shot scene to a different level as you obtained here… :raised_hand:A HIGH 5.
This brought back fond recall of the last time we linked up in person all those many years back now. I think Chris Chamberlain was there too or on his way in to Yosemite that day at some point… :thinking:

I think of the most popular places in Norway where they probably sell photo session numbers these days.
Nice picture with nice tones. A rare successful shot from an epic location. Well balanced. Maybe I would give a little light to the waterfall so that it stands out better

Classic view for sure and you did it justice Lon. The fog is magical and creates some wonderful layering and gives the scene depth. Your B&W processing looks spot on to me. I was there twice many years ago and came away with nothing. I am jealous. :grinning: This is a beauty!

Looks like William Neil in the red coat and ball cap.

Lon, you’ve taken a classic icon shot and elevated it to unique and outstanding. The layers of fog really work well, drawing the eye into the waterfall. Wonderful. I could see dodging the waterfall just a bit to make it stand out.

B&W conversion looks great. Did you use a tool, or just the B&W conversion in (I assume) Lightroom?

It’s interesting in that the waterfall seems to be the source of the fog. Perhaps that comes from seein so many slow ss images of waterfalls. I do agree with the idea of making the waterfall just a tad brighter.

I haven’t photographed from that spot for decades but the last time I did a neighbor showed me this contraption he had for a Lee filter. So I did inadvertently learn something that day, which showed me that there can be some benefit to crowds. It was a rainy day and there were fewer people than in your picture.

This is really a beautiful image of an often shot scene, Lon. Like you, I ALWAYS go to tunnel view and I don’t care if 10 million people have the same shot. I now have it too.
You came away with something that I think is pretty special. The B&W treatment along with the moody fog working it’s way through the trees really makes this image work for me. I like the waterfall as is because I think the waterfall is secondary to the fog as a subject matter. You gotta love Yosemite after a storm. So much drama. I love this shot, Icon or not.

Icon or not, this is beautiful. Is that your setup between second and third photogs?

I love the composition and the overall mood of this image, and it works very well as a B&W scene, but I think it might benefit from making the fog a touch brigher, so that the high values along the left hand edge, or at least in the left bottom corner, reach pure whites. I find it that my brain expects to se white in most B&W images, perhaps because the human sight ‘exposes’ for as much shadow detail as it can get, so we are most of the time operating just shy of clipping the hightlights. The values for the rest of the image feel spot on to me, capturing the time of the day very well.

Lon, it may have been crowded, but you’ve got a great photo here with the layers of trees and fog leading my eyes up to the falls.

Thank you all so much for the comments and feedback! Very much appreciated. I’ve reworked the file taking in to account much of the feedback.

Interesting about the brightness of the falls. I had 3 layers doing just that! Looking back and re-working I realized that the RAW was so dull and drab that I can now see that the falls could be brought out ane emphasized a bit more. So thank you!

DJ - Nice to virtually meet you! :slight_smile:

Thanks Paul! Yup, I remember those days well! Might have been your last visit to Yosemite!

Thanks Jorma for the suggestion. I hope the edit does that!

Thank you Ed for your comment and yes, you were able to ID William! Alex in the blue jacket about 7 togs from the left.

Thanks David - after the 2nd comment on the waterfall, I did work on it. As far as the b&w, I simply add a b&w adj layer in PS itself. I’m not a LR user, although I will say that I’m working a lot more in ACR than I ever have in the past. I’m pretty sure the engine is the same with LR and ACR. The color version was pretty boring and was an easy choice to go AA B&W! :slight_smile:

Very keen observation Igor. I can see what you’re describing - I had not thought of that. Excellent. And yeah, I’ve run in to and met many photogs over the years, so yeah, “sometimes” being among a small crowd can have it’s bonuses…

Pretty observent Jim! Yup, the unattened tripod is mine! Thanks for your comment.

Tomas, thank you very much for your comment, observation and suggestions. I’ve brightened the fog in addition to the falls and upper granite walls. I’m wondering though if I’ve dampened the mood by too much brightness and contrast? I’m unsure.
Regarding the “white in b&w images” I mostly agree. In fact from way back in my camera club days and having b&w prints judged, the comment that sticks with me the most is “you should have black blacks, and white whites” (like anything else, a guideline not a rule…) But I appreciate the comment.

Thank you all for chiming in!

Exquisite Lon. My preference is the rework for the top half of the image, and the original for the bottom half. Regardless, this is wonderful and I like @Igor_Doncov’s observation that the waterfall seems to pour out the fog.

I laughed when I saw your image of the photographer crowd. I’ve never been in one that big! In many scenes I experience I find the way the camera isolates to a cropped two dimensional view to be very limiting. When you lose 3d, the big scene, the sounds and smells, you can lose some of what makes a location magical. Here, it’s the exact opposite. Based on the image, without the story and crowd image, it feels personal and isolated; the camera did a wonderful job of cutting out what you had going on around you.