This photograph was taken with a first generation digital camera back in 2003 or so during one of our first backpacking trips to Yosemite. As I recall, we were hiking up the Mist Trail, which is a series of steps cut into solid rock that leads up up past Vernal Falls to Nevada Falls through showers of water vapor as the falls hit the boulders below – very slippery!
When my daughter was two years old, I carried her on my shoulders all the way up the steep grade to the top of Vernal Falls. These day’s she’d have to carry me!
Though the resolution of the original image isn’t great, I still include this picture in my collection of “best photographs” because I find the composition compelling. Notice the dynamics of all the diagonals, from the two trees in the lower left to the cleft in the rock toward the right. The all converge toward the peak.
Then, the top half of the frame is dark rock and dark sky, while the bottom is light. This would normally make the dark portion heavier in feel, and the overall shot would seem top-heavy, if not for the pyramid shape of the monolith itself, which counteracts that by establishing a base that diminishes in weight until the peak is reached.
The colors are as they were in the original shot – off toward the blue due to the early generation digital technology. But it creates a slate-blue, slight cold feel that I find compelling, so I have left that as is. In fact, I’ve found that every camera has its own idiosyncrasies, and you can play to them for artistic effect.