Niterider, I like your pics. Show more if you have any others.
Yes, it's a lovely park, someday I will visit. It sounds like there's no shortage of people shooting pics there, though...and there's also no shortage of pictures of the park done by well known photographers.
The reason people walk around with a 70-200 f/2.8, is because they don't look like a big shot photographer unless they have one. They see the photo press on tv, all of them have one, so they buy one. I assume they are there to shoot wildlife, or else to take some of family or friends while with them...or something.
Every time I visit the parks in my area (such as the Smokey Mtns), there are people with wide angles, and people with 70-200's. I usually go with a wide zoom and some exotic medium prime lens. What did not surprise me last year (via part of the Blue Ridge Parkway), were the billions of extremely loud Harley Davidsons piloted by gray haired couples, complete with micro dog in the wife's purse or backpack. Every stop possessing fresh grass and picnic tables, smelled like horrible tiny doggie poo!
What did surprise me was the multitude of people shooting standard wide angle landscape shots in the daytime, on tripods. I fail to see the logic of this. If they're shooting macro, or wanting to participate in the "stream water as smoke" fad, with long exposures and ND filters, that's one thing. Or if it is late afternoon light, then yes I can see needing a tripod. But if they are not doing long exposure, there's no reason for a tripod in mid afternoon light, in my opinion. It certainly limits the total number of shots you can take, to constantly move around a tripod and set it up, and aim the camera, etc. I had rented a 1D4 with 24-105 IS. I shot about 1400 pictures over a day and a half. With the IS, I was able to close the lens down to f/16 or 18 at times, to try to minimize CA at the wide end, and still got sharp shots handheld even if the speed was less than 1/100. I felt like a bigshot with the big 1 series around my neck, but nobody really seemed to notice!
When I visit Yosemite, I think it will take me several visits to figure out what's been least photographed, but still is worth shooting. Ideally I would do night photography of the comet later this year (assuming it lights up like they say), but I have a feeling something or some park ranger would try to stop me...stuff like that always happens ("sorry folks, the park closes at 5pm, it's time to go home"). If I can't do it there, there are other parks and other nice places. There won't be a shortage of other people shooting the comet, either...will be kind of hard to stand out from the crowd...or rather impossible.
Yes, everyone had tripods and most had them set up for long exposures of the waterfalls. In terms of the long lenses, I had the feeling it was a bit of an insecurity thing. I did have a lot of people talk to me about gear and very few talk about lighting, composition, etc. I did do a bit of night photography while I was there and the rangers are totally cool with it. I also hiked some trails at night and no one stopped me.
The places that have not been photographed like crazy are definitely the places you have to hike miles to get to. I did not see a single photographer when I hiked up to Nevada Falls or going to the top of upper Yosemite falls, but saw hundreds around the valley floor. After hiking 15 miles one day with all my camera equipment, snow gear, and water & food on my back, I dont blame most photographers for sticking on the valley floor.
Hopefully you make it to Yosemite soon! I'll try to upload some pictures of the less photographed places when I can.
I did notice that about 80% of photographers were walking around with a 70-200 F2.8 (canon/nikon/tamron/etc.). For the life of me, I could not figure this out! For my entire trip, I was constantly reaching for my 14mm uwa lens. If that was not on the camera, the 50mm was. I only put my 70-200mm on my camera 3 times over the course of the trip.
And when I look at your photos, what do I see? Uncorrected lens distortion.
Where does lens distortion come from?
UWA lenses that people don't know how to use.
Your photos are a great example of why lots of people don't use wide angle lenses in Yosemite Valley.
Best lens for the Yosemite Valley is arguably 24-70. It would be 24-105 except that the 24-105 is rubbish wider than 28mm.
I would happily argue that the best lens for Yosemite is a 24 or 17mm tilt shift lens, but everyone has their preference. The distortion is corrected for as best I could (using a lens profile), but that is definitely the downfall of the Samyang 14mm. I am sure I could have done a better job correcting the distortion, but I have not figured out how. If you have any advice feel free to share!