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Photographing Yosemite: Digital Field Guide by Lewis Kemper

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16.3. How Can I Get the Best Shot?

You can either use the mountain peaks as backdrops for large scenic images or use a longer lens to zoom in and isolate the peaks.

16.3.1. Equipment

Using a wide-angle to moderate telephoto lens works best for this scene. Adding a tripod and bubble level helps you get good depth of field and have level images.

16.3.1.1. Lenses

Wide-angle lenses in the 14-35mm range are the most effective when trying to photograph the peaks as part of the larger landscape. With this focal length, you can use either the river or the reflecting pond as a strong foreground element or be able to emphasize the sky if you have good clouds.

Using short telephoto lenses makes the mountains more prominent and the foregrounds less imposing, and using longer telephoto lenses enables you to fill the frame with the peaks themselves.

16.3.1.2. Filters

The most useful filters you can use when photographing Mount Dana and Mount Gibbs are a polarizing filter and a graduated neutral density filter.

  • Polarizing filter. Useful for reducing glare and reflections off the surface of the water and rocks.

  • Graduated neutral density filter. This filter is useful for balancing your lighting ratios, especially when you are photographing with a darker foreground and lighter background. A graduated neutral density filter has a gradient of density that reduces light at the top of the filter and tapers to clear, having no effect at the bottom of the filter. If the sky is much brighter than the ...

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