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Fall Color Splendor

I was in the Yosemite Valley in anticipation of an incoming rain storm. Those who have been out shooting with me know there's almost nothing I won't do to get the shot I have in mind. I had driven past this area a few times and decided to stop and give it a hard look. The heavy rains had not started yet, and the water flow was moderate. Time to throw on the waders and get into the middle of the Merced River!

So, wading out to the middle was more difficult than I anticipated. I had to cross a section that had very strong current, and was ribcage deep. It was pretty dicey, but I made it through that section dry! Once out in the middle, it was a bit more shallow and calmer water. I spent the next 90 minutes shooting this beautiful scene from every angle imaginable. This was my favorite shot with the beautiful fall colors and pines reflecting in the calm pool above this natural rock levee. The pool was so calm you could clearly see the sand and rocks on the river bottom. The incoming storm clouds lined the sky. A small opening in the clouds appeared and lit up the yellow oak trees at the end of the pool.

Time to get out of the river and move on. I decided to NOT try my luck crossing the deep rapids again, and that nice calm pool looked much easier to cross. It was all going well until I got about two-thirds across the calm area. In one step the water went from thigh-deep to belly-deep. Still okay, I have chest waders on... Next step was chest-deep. Still okay being the current was very calm. The bottom looked the same depth the rest of the way, so I forged on. Bad choice Sparky!

The next step was neck-deep!!! Suddenly my waders are filling up with icy water. I'm trying to swim one-handed while my right hand keeps $7,000 worth of camera gear above the water! I said to myself, "Even IF I drown here, they're gonna find me with all of my camera gear sticking way up in the air, high and dry!!!" The gentle current pushed me towards the rock levee and I was able to get footing in the soft sand. The rest of the way out of the river was shallow, calm and uneventful.

So what did I learn from my late-fall dip in the Merced?
1. As good as waders are at keeping water out, they equally good at keeping it inside them also!!! Brrrrrrrr...
2. Cell phones that claim they are waterproof really aren't when it comes right down to it. Galaxy S7 Edge became a sponge.
3. To get the shot you're looking for, sometimes there are going to be sacrifices.


From Yosemite