For any photographer with an interest in landscape photography a visit to Yosemite National Park is a pilgrimage that should be made at some time, when Adams first wrote of Yosemite he said “the splendor of Yosemite burst upon us and it was glorious… One wonder after another descended upon us… There was light everywhere… A new era began for me.”, now having visited these words ring true. Yosemite Valley suddenly springs upon you as you drive into the National Park. The image above is from a viewpoint off Highway 41 from Fresno, as you drive into the park you pass through a tunnel and this view suddenly presents it’s self, with Half Dome and Clouds Rest at the end of the Valley, El Capitan to the left, Three Brothers and Bridalveil falls to the right. My entrance into the valley was from San Francisco via Highway 120 and Big Oak Flat Road and as I was there in the beginning of April it was a very snowy drive in due to a late Winter/early Spring snowstorm that had hit the High Sierra mountains, fortunately the storm was breaking as I was presented with my first vista of the Valley, and an equally spectacular view presented it’s self down the Merced River
Big Oak Flat Road (Which is anything but flat) can be seen winding down the mountain to the left of the image, the Merced River winding down the centre of the Valley, with Glacier Point in the clearing clouds, 3 Brothers, and Bridalveil Fall at the end of the valley.
That night another winter storm moved in and dumped a lot of snow on the Valley floor, waking up before dawn the valley floor had turned into a black and white vista presenting a great opportunity to mimic some of Ansel Adams great black and white imagery.
The overnight winter storm had cleared by dawn and the weather forcast was for the mercury to climb so the overnight snow in the valley was not going to last very long into the day. This both presented opportunity and problems, with the rising heat a valley mst was rising adding to the textures in the images, but walking around the snow falling from the trees soaked everything fortunately I had prepared for possible wet conditions having brought an Outex camera waterproof cover with me. The image above although taken in colour and then converted to monochrome did not show any colour except the red bark of the Redwood trees.
Yosemite falls were not in high flow but because of the snow and cold conditions were creating a Frazil ice flow where the river appears to be a flow of ice crystals, in the image above the upper falls are only a very thin stream.
That morning hiking (sauntering – John Muir did not like the idea of hiking through the Sierras saying that people were better off sauntering so as to take in the beautiful views and appreciate nature) up to Mirror Lake after Yosemite Falls the lake was at the time I arrived there frozen, but because of the rising heat within half an hour of arriving at the lake the ice on the lake had disappeared, leaving only the snow on the trees and surrounding areas.
These are only some of the images of Yosemite that I took during a week’s stay there which ranged from full winter to a warm spring. The range of light seen during the week was amazing, and my next post will be on this range of light.
Equipment I could not have done without during my Yosemite trip
Outex Camera Waterproofing
Peak Design’s camera clips, Leash and Cuff
Berghaus Outdoor clothing
and of course Canon Cameras