The advantage of visiting Yosemite in the beginning of May is that you can avoid high season crowds; however, the weather is quite unpredictable this time of year.
The weather was my main concern when I was planning my one-day trip to Yosemite from San Francisco. According to the research I performed, the road through the mountains can be completely closed due to the snow or you could be forced to use the chains on your car tires when passing the mountain crossings. Neither scenarios resonated well with me.
Luck was on our side on the day we went to Yosemite. The weather was unusually warm and sunny. It was 20-24oC in the valley with not too many people around.
I took featured photos while we were walking along the Merced River, trying to find the most beautiful and secluded spot for a mid-day picnic. When I saw the tiny sandy island in the middle of the stream, I knew right away it was exactly the spot we were looking for.
It was challenging to get there and the water was extremely cold but in the end, it was totally worth it.
Deconstructing Featured Photo
Processing: HDR Processed in Photomatix
Lightroom: import, tagging, export to Photomatix
Photomatix: I used 3 images to tone map image ( -1, 0, +1 ), 16-bit tiff image was exported to Lightroom. (check my tutorial Before & After – HDR With Photomatix)
Lightroom: straightening, cropping, export as PSD image
Photoshop: cleaning, removing HDR artifacts in water, contrast.