Before visiting Yosemite National Park first time I went through hundreds of photos of fellow photographers, trying to anticipate and plan ahead what to soot. By the time of my visit I had general idea of the layout of the valley and key spots to visit.
At the same I had few surprises. For example: I did not expect the valley to be so narrow. But the main surprise was the color of Merced River. It had prominent yellow hues. And it was not reflection of the sunset, I took featured photo in the middle of the day with thick clouds defusing direct sunlight. I did not complained, it was welcomed surprise.
The idea for the composition of the photo was to use river as leading element with Yosemite Falls as focal point. But when I started to process it back home in Lightroom I realized that yellow waters of Merced River overpowers everything else in the composition, becoming the actual focal point.
I used HDR (High Dynamic Range) processing in Photomatix to tone map 3 bracketed photos.