I had a conversation with my housemate about the five places every Californian needs to visit: Los Angeles, San Francisco, the Central Coast, Lake Tahoe, and Yosemite. All are very beautiful and unique, and if you’re able, I’d highly recommend making the pilgrimage to each. I’ve been lucky enough to hit every place on the list except the last one, Yosemite. However, I recently found myself with free time, two doses of a Covid vaccine in my arm, and a desire to finish the quintet.
The choice of camera was easy. I’ve co-opted my dad’s Yashica Mat-124 G, and that’s become my main camera. I can’t say enough about the beautiful photos it produces, and the waist-level finder experience lives up to every bit of hype you might read on this site. It also isn’t too bulky for a hike.
Film choice took a bit more thought. Upon reaching the park, clouds covered the sky, and depending on my altitude I got hit with either rain or snow. I knew I needed a little speed, and given that the day was already a new experience, why not toss in a new film? Therefore, I settled on our recently deceased friend, Fuji Pro 400H. I’d never actually used this film before, but had managed to snag a couple rolls from the shelf of my local camera store a few days after the announcement of its doom.
“Helluva time to start shooting it,” said the cashier upon hearing my story.
Anyways, the film loaded, I started photographing my way along the Upper Yosemite Falls Trail. It leads to the top of North America’s highest waterfall, and while only being 3.6 miles to the top, it takes you up 2,700 feet in that short distance. You’ll have to forgive me for not having the most exciting compositions in these photos, but after a winter of inactivity I was busy finding out how out of shape I am.
Luckily for me, Yosemite is beautiful, and can make even the most tired photographer’s shots look great. I enjoyed the results from the Pro 400H. The colder palette of Fujifilm’s color offerings worked out well, showing what the weather was like on the day of my hike. Despite the the amazing views available to me, I still think my favorite photo from the roll is one I took of a tree growing out from some granite. I tried to divide the square frame diagonally across to juxtapose the two. Don’t let anyone tell you composition isn’t important. The Pro 400H really showed the cold weather’s light while still capturing the vibrancy of the tree bark. The Yashinon lens also did a good job showing the textures in frame.
I almost don’t want to tell myself I like the film because I’ll likely only ever shoot one more roll of it. However, I’ve got to thank it for memorializing the color palette of this day. The photos will also remind me how proud I am of myself for completing an extremely strenuous hike (for context, the waterfall photo here, I hiked to the top of that. Yeah. Strenuous). Accurate and beautiful documenting; I can’t really ask for more from a film than that.
If you have the chance, try both Yosemite and Fujifilm Pro 400H. The experience is memorable.
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