The Yosemite in Springtime
19 May 2011, Thursday
I only made a few snaps today. Here's one made after dinner:
For years I heard intellectuals talking about "vernal pools." It sounds fancy, but what's a vernal pool? Vernal means Springtime, and thus vernal pools are simply puddles that form from springtime rain.
20 May 2011, Friday top
After breakfast we jumped on our rented beach cruiser bicycles and rode on Dave Wyman's all-downhill route around Yosemite Valley. Dave has ridden with Lance Armstrong, so he knows the all-downhill routes. We had spectacular weather today, which is why Dave for months has had the bike ride planned for today.
I grabbed f/11 for this snap to keep more in focus, and the M9 automatically grabbed ISO 250 to keep the shutter speed as I had requested it to do in Auto ISO setup.
Pictures come out better without tripods, so even though I had one in the car with me, why would I bother setting it up? To get this sharp shot, all I did was crouch and brace my arms on my legs as I tried not to slip on the wet rocks.
If you live in a Communist country where you're not free to own guns, I'd suggest you join your local Army (or move to the USA), where you'll be taught how to hold and shoot weapons, which applies directly to shooting cameras, too. Here in the USA, most of us learn gun safety and marksmanship as kids, which translates directly to being able to fire a camera smoothly and accurately.
I used a conventional polarizing filter to enhance the rainbow. Polarizers are easy to use on rangefinder cameras: simply look through the filter until you get the effect you want, and put it on your lens oriented the same way. This is easy with LEITZ polarizers, since they have numbers permanently engraved for every 10.º With lesser polarizers, I just look at whatever other lettering is on it, and put it on the lens the same way as I peered through it.
Be careful; if you rotate the camera 90º to vertical, the polarizer will then make rainbow go away if you don't rotate the polarizer, too!
My tiny chromed-brass 39mm LEITZ SUMMICRON polarizer was made in the 1960s. I got it for about $20 through eBay.
There's never a need for longer lenses shooting "digital" with the LEICA. The images are so clean and there is so much excess resolution that I can crop for whatever I need. I saw no need to bother bringing a LEICA 135mm f/4 ELMAR ultra-telephoto. Here is the complete image from which I cropped the rainbow:
By cropping from my tiny 8 oz./225g lens, I got the equivalent of a sharp 300mm lens! Carry a zoom if you like lots of weight, but I'll stick to my fixed lenses, thank you.
Even if I wanted to spoil the fun by lugging a tripod and looking like Larry the loser (sorry, it just alliterated so well), f/22 still wouldn't have gotten everything in focus. That's why real nature shooters shoot 4x5" with tilting lensboards. I didn't want the background in focus anyway; it would draw your eyes up and out of the photo.