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Behind The Shot: California Spring

Behind The Shot: California Spring

Photo By Kris Walkowski

After several years of drought in California’s Central Valley, the rain came and the spring of 2016 was once again filled with blooming flowers. The Yosemite foothills are full of breathtaking places, scenic views and many trails that span the park. In the springtime, millions of poppy flowers bloom along the hills creating an amazing sight. To celebrate the first day of spring, I researched and chose El Portal Road (Highway 140) near Incline for my morning hike before I headed to the valley for sunset. The Hite Cove Trail hike was really beautiful with a lot of photo opportunities. I was enjoying the spectacular views and calm wind that was moving millions of flowers like a waving carpet along the hills.

Reaching the end of the hike, I found a rocky area with very little flowers and decided to head back because the afternoon clouds started to pick up. Halfway back, I spotted a very nice meadow with several clouds that just started moving along the sky, lining up and creating the perfect scenario and some unique composition opportunities. I decided to try an “in-camera” double exposure. Seeing the clouds moving above the meadow created an interesting scene. I started shooting using only two images per sequence. I did several different picture combinations, but this one really caught my eye. All elements within the picture were well distributed, with good proportions of grass and flowers in comparison to the sky and clouds.

On the technical side, I handheld the camera and zoomed out to 24mm and snapped an image covering the whole scene, from the meadow to the clouds. A few seconds later, I zoomed in to 60mm to get closer and try to capture more details of the flowers. This was my favorite composition. I’m looking forward to this spring and the opportunity to go out in the field and create something new.

Nikon D810, AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm F2.8G ED, LEE 0.6 ND Grad Soft filter. Exposure: 1/250 sec., ƒ/9, ISO 320.

See more of Kris Walkowski’s work at, and