- CAPTURING MOMENTS THAT CAPTIVATE THE HEART -
Directly across from El Capitan in Yosemite Valley are three rock formations known as Cathedral Rocks. During the springtime, run-off from melting snows at higher elevations causes the Merced River to overflow its banks, forming a temporary pond in El Capitan Meadow. The reflection in the still waters of the pond provide the perfect foreground to photograph Cathedral Rocks. To get this shot, I put on my knee high boots, and waded out to a partially submerged stump.
El Capitan is an iconic vertical rock formation located in the north end of Yosemite Valley. The granite monolith rises more than 3,000 feet from base to summit. While El Capitan is a beacon for visitors and a muse for photographers, it is best known as the mecca of modern rock climbing, providing one of the world’s ultimate challenges for rock climbing adventurers. El Capitan was thrust into the news recently when Alex Honnold was the first to scale the sheer cliff without any ropes for protection, as documented in the Oscar winning film, "Free Solo”.
Perhaps no other spot epitomizes Yosemite like Tunnel View. It is from this spot that Ansel Adams immortalized Yosemite Valley. Half Dome is in the far background, framed by El Capitan on the left, and Bridal Veil Falls and The Three Graces on the right.
‘No temple made with hands can compare to Yosemite'
- John Muir -
Wedged between a row of photographers on Sentinel Bridge, this was my first view of Half Dome. The setting sun reflecting off the clouds and the vertical face of Half Dome, with the swollen Merced River in the foreground, was simply stunning. What made it extra special was I had given up all hope of standing at this spot on this day.(see Ghost Road blog).
Half Dome is a well-known rock formation in Yosemite, named for its distinct shape. One side is a sheer face while the other three sides are smooth and round, making it appear like a dome cut in half.
The alarm woke us at 3am. We got dressed, prepared some food for the day, packed our gear, then headed to the park. I wanted to get there well before sunrise for some early morning photos. But nothing prepared me for this moment. I stood here, in near total darkness, one solitary figure, caught as it were on the threshold between two realms, in the presence of the Creator Himself. Weak in the knees, I had but one thought, to bow down in awe and wonder.
Few images speak to the power and volatility of nature more persuasively than a magnificent thunderstorm. During springtime in Yosemite Valley, when Bridal Veil Falls is at its fullest, storms rip through the park with a ferocity that reminds even the most jaded visitor of the land’s enduring wildness. -Ansel Adams Gallery -
This is one such image. The lightning was so intense I did not dare get out of my car. I lowered the car window, steadied my camera on the ledge, and took a series of photos in rapid succession. This is one of those photos that speaks to me in so many ways.
This famous tree in Cook’s Meadow is the last of a group of elms planted by James Mason Hutchings in the mid-1800s. While most elms and other non-native tree species have been removed from the area, this one remains. The now historic tree is a true icon of the Valley floor and a favorite subject among photographers.
At the western end of the valley there is a spot called 'The Gates of the Valley', also known as Valley View. Next to Tunnel View, it is one of the most impressive views of the valley. On the left is El Capitan, Bridalveil Falls and the Three Graces are on the right, with the Merced River in the foreground.
Built in 1879, in the middle of the world famous Yosemite Valley, surrounded by spectacular cliffs, beautiful meadows, and an impressive view of Yosemite Falls, Yosemite Valley Chapel has served. as a loving place of worship, teaching, fellowship, and weddings for residents and visitors alike for over 135 years..
This was another of my favorites, taken on the day of our arrival just after sunset. Yosemite Falls is beautifully reflected in the flooded Cook’s Meadow.
There are so many places from which to view Yosemite Falls in the valley. The Cook’s Meadow Loop has a boardwalk that gives views like this when the meadow is flooded. It is especially magical in the early morning.
Mirror Lake is a small, seasonal lake located on Tenaya Creek in Yosemite Valley. Situated in Tenaya Canyon directly between North Dome and Half Dome, it is the last remnant of a large glacial lake that once filled most of Yosemite Valley. The view and reflections here are amazing.
Standing on the precipice of a sheer rock cliff 3200 feet above the valley floor, the view of the valley from Glacier Point Overlook is both dizzying and stunning. There are two ways to get to Glacier Point Overlook, the Four Mile Trail, and Glacier Point Road. The Four Mile Trail is a challenging hike, rising 3200’ in elevation, and often treacherous in the spring when the trail is icy and snow packed in places. The other much easier way is by Glacier Point Road. But the road is closed during the winter due to snow pack, and usually doesn’t open until late May to mid-June in a normal snow year. Since the winter prior to our visit had seen much greater than normal snowfall, we thought there was no chance the road would be open in early May during our stay. So, on the last day of our visit, we were shocked and thrilled when they opened the road, and took full advantage of our good fortune. A week after we left a spring snowstorm once again closed the road.
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