Yosemite: Mist Trail Steps

posted by andrew

At one point the Mist Trail takes you right around the rim of the Vernal Falls basin (the area my previous post is about) and this is an image of the trail that does so. For about a half mile the trail consists of slippery stone steps that look like

they were lifted from some elvish fantasy. Depending on the direction of the wind, the stairs can be downright treacherous so you have to be extremely careful. We were nearing the end of this section of the trail when we emerged from an overhead outcrop that makes a sort of cave/tunnel and were presented with this stunning angle of the falls and the continuing stairs up around to the right. It took about 15 minutes (and finally stepping out to ask) before I could get this angle with no people in it. And yes, it is absolutely worth bothering people when you can see an awesome result on the other end. This is where a full frame sensor would really have helped (and actually permitted the use of a tripod) because in order to get wide enough I had to prop myself into a wedge in the rock face behind me. In the end it came out nicely, but the 16 just barely covered this one. Favorite part: the reflection. Least favorite part: the boring sky.

Because the reflection in the pool of water wasn't going to be a PERFECT mirror image of the actual falls, I chose a wider aperture than usual to let the -3EV exposure reach a 1/8000 shutter speed for maximum waterfall stoppage. I really wanted the frozen waterfall to be as distinct as possible in the reflection so this was my counter to the diffraction caused by the pool's surface: Yosemite CA

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