Saturday, June 4, 2011


A visit to Yosemite is a study in contrasts.
The beauty of the place is overwhelming yet it's popularity leads to enormous crowds that take away from the experience. And we are here in the off season.
Much like Mt. St Michele in France, it is a victim of its own beauty.

If you come to Yosemite - come for the beauty and you wont be disappointed. 
 Just ignore the crowd.

This time of year waterfalls thunder down the mountainsides all over the valley.
Torrents of water launch over the cliffs to drop thousands of feet to the valley floor.

If drops of water have the capacity to be afraid then then must be scared out of their wits!

Arriving from the South on Hwy 41 - the picture below is the first view you get of the valley as you exit a tunnel. To see it in person is really something.

Remember when you look at it - that from the top of the mountains to the valley floor it is about 5,000'

On the left is El' Capitan. A 5,000' sheer cliff on Granite. Climbers take several days (sleeping suspended in their sleeping bags) to climb the face.
There are probably some on the face of it in this picture.

On the right is Bridalveil Falls, and further down the valley is Half Dome.

Upon our arrival we had one night in site # 39 at the Lower Pines Campground, one of the best campsites in the whole park!  
It is right on the Merced River and looks up at Half Dome.
To reserve it, we had to be online at 7:00am exactly, on February 15th, and move quickly.   
By 7:05am all the sites in Yosemite were booked for the month of June.   The sell out that quickly!
I scheduled our whole trip around this one campsite.

This is the view of Half Dome from our campsite.

his is the view of the Merced River from our campsite and the North Pines Campground across the river.
The glow you see on the water is the afternoon sun reflected from high up on Half Dome.
Down in the Valley - the sun has already set for the day.

Friday Morning dawned clear but our forecast was for overcast skies and 50/50 chance of rain.
We decided to hit the road extra early and try to get the best photographic conditions that we could before they deteriorated.

I made us some quick bacon & egg sandwiches that we took with us and we and the Doodles hit the road for Glacier point.

On the way I saw the most beautiful meadow.  Almost no-one was up yet so I pulled over and took a walk into the meadow and was greeted by sweet silence.
Only the sounds on the waterfalls echoing thru the valley and the morning songs of the birds broke the stillness.  It was a magical moment.

I took this picture in the Meadow that I absolutely love

Another shot in that same meadow.
The granite mountains, their reflections in the pond, seem to hang upside down.

Onward and upward however we pushed to Glacier point.   As the crow flies, the base of the point was a mere 300 yards from our campsite, but to travel the 4,000 vertical feet to the top required a one-hour drive.
The view of the valley floor - over 4,000 feet below - is breathtaking.  Unfortunately not the best weather conditions to photograph.

This is a shot of Upper & Lower Yosemite Falls taken with the telephoto lens from Glacier Point

The temperature difference is quite dramatic between the valley floor and the top.   Up top they get dozens of feet of snow per year - in the valley just a dusting.

In the valley we had green leaves and temps in the 60's.
At Glacier point we took todays self portrait.

We had to get back down in the valley by noon time in order to move our camper to a different site - so after we did that we spent the afternoon taking a 6 mile hike around the valley with the Doodles.
(they are now passed out on the couch and I don't expect them to move till tomorrow)

This is Upper and Lower Yosemite Falls , seen from the Valley

Here is the classic Ansel Adams shot of Half Dome taken from the Sentinel Bridge.
Again - the light sucked but it's all we had.
I remember as a kid spending many hours swimming in that river.

We were scheduled to spend one more day in Yosemite but since I've been so out of touch with the office for 4 days - we've decided to head to Napa tomorrow (Saturday)  where I will be able to spend a day getting caught before we meet up with our friends  and enter our "Wine & Song" Phase of this journey.

Late entry - we are now in Napa.  I finally had internet and was able to post this and the prior blog.


  1. These photos have to represent THE MOST BEAUTIFUL place on earth! I thought MAINE was pretty, but this has it beat. Someday....someday....we will have to follow this same trip. You need to write a guild book using this blog and these photos. Great job, outstanding photo work. Thank you

  2. If that is what it looks like when the lighting "sucks", I can only imagine how gorgeous it would be with non-sucky lighting! I especially love the meadow - I would say the lighting was perfect for that one!

  3. Thanks Hayden & Shelly.

    The lighting in the meadow was good and I switched to my 35mm fixed length lens which is great for shooting in lower light. I guess out of 9 million photos one or two have to come out good!


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