Cellpic Sunday – Yosemite Valley

Yosemite Valley

Yosemite National Park, California.

Last September (2021), we first visited Yosemite. It had long been on our bucket list, so I was happy we finally made the trip to one of California’s iconic parks. When I think of the park, I think of those iconic images by Ansel Adams. His black-and-white work still inspires generations of photographers. His legacy in the park was cemented when a section of the wilderness south of the park was named Ansel Adams Wilderness. In addition, an 11,760-foot (3584 m) peak was named Mount Ansel Adams in 1985.

There is no doubt that the scenery in the park is stunning, and even would-be photographers like myself can generate passable cell pics from almost anywhere in the park. While there, I gathered a few photos on my cell phone, but most of the images in the park were captured with my Nikon D500. A future post will highlight my trip through the park.

About the photo: The late fall wildfires in California left this image a bit challenged. My Samsung S20U captured the haze in the sky and left the image especially gray and flat in the background. Processing in Lightroom and Luminar Neo brought down the haze level and enhanced the detail in the original 108 MP image.

Both of my favorite processing tools have a dehaze function, but though using it removed most of the gray, it left a blue color cast that was almost as unsightly. Neo’s colorcast removal tool didn’t help much. I used Neo’s AI Mask to separate the sky from the landscape and in the sky, I used the Blue HSL saturation slider to back off the blue and keep the sky from gaining a lot of structure that I like to add in the mountains. From there, I inverted the mask and applied structure, and also backed off the blue saturation. I was pleased enough with the final image to share it with you in this week’s Cellpic Sunday.

I encourage fellow bloggers to create their own Cellpic Sunday posts. I never have a specific topic for this feature, and the only rules are that the photo must be captured with a cell phone, iPad, or another mobile device… If you have an image from a drone or even a dashcam, that’s acceptable as well. The second rule is to link your challenge-response to this post or leave a comment here with a link to your post in the comment.

John Steiner


    • Thanks! It is a beautiful part of the country. I am so sorry to see it marred by the haze of wild fires every year. I am afraid it will be hard to find clear summer days when selecting a random vacation time.

  1. I believe Yosemite is one of the most amazing places on Earth, John, not just the valley but also the high country of Tuolumne Meadows. Great view of the opening of the valley at that angle. It is also cool to see the back end of the valley from Olmstead Point on 120 coming out of Tuolumne Meadows. One of my favorite places. Hope you get to see it without smoke–best to go in spring!

    Here is my post today for cellpic Sunday: https://secondwindleisure.com/2022/07/31/sunday-stills-dessert-in-the-deserts/

      • We have camped in the valley several times as well as stay in Yosemite Lodge just outside the valley. If you stay outside the park, I recommend getting into the valley and park in day use no later than 9am and you can park all day. Riding the shuttle busses is just delightful. Now I wanna go back, wah!

      • This morning, I am working on the HDR images I captured in the park that day. I’d forgotten how beautiful I found the place last September.

  2. I have visited all the national parks in Georgia and a few Florida, South Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, New York, Tennessee. I really want to get out west and see the big national parks.

    • I am building an agenda for a trip east in September. We will be covering the northern states, but will be as far south as Pennsylvania.
      We’ll have to check out the National Parks near our travels. Do you have any recommendations?

  3. Cell Pic Sunday has sure picked up since I first joined – WOW! Congratulations. I love your picture and your correction of nature’s problems produced by fires, smoke, haze, and other lighting problems. Yosemite is a beautiful place, but not necessarily easy to photograph. There’s so much of it to get into the picture. My CPS is coming with my post tomorrow. See you then. 🙂

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