So this is a little uncharacteristic of me, but this time, I’m going to try to go easy on the words and let the images tell the story. Yosemite is just one of those places…the type that no matter who or what you are, will be affected by it. It’s simply impossible to turn that final curve on Highway 41 and exit that 1/4 mile tunnel 30 miles past Yosemite National Park’s South Entrance, without feeling like time slows down, at least for a split-second, to work out whether or not your eyes and senses have failed you as you try to come to grips with the sheer scale and beauty of the surreal valley that lies before you. Or as you drive up Glacier Point Road for 16 miles through dense pine and redwood forest before turning on that final S Curve just before Glacier Point and essentially slamming head-on into the world’s most magnificent chunk of granite, Half Dome, as it rests gloriously upon its perch, keeping a watchful eye over Yosemite Valley 3000 feet below. I was fortunate enough to be able to spend last week in Yosemite with my cousin, her family (including her photographer husband Stephen Chiang), and my aunt - the exact same crew that put up with my shenanigans last year on the Big Sur trip that I wrote about here. While our cabin was at Bass Lake, about 45 miles from the Valley, we spent every day within the borders of the park. Each day proved to be quite different than the day before. On the first day, we were treated to a mild snowstorm, leaving a nice blanket of fresh powder through the park for the next 24 hours. After those first 36 hours, it turned immediately to Spring, as the clouds cleared and the sun shone down upon us for the remainder of the week.
This afforded us the ability to enjoy everything from a showing of “The Spirit Of Yosemite” in the Museum’s Yosemite Conservancy Theatre to a snack at the stately Ahwahnee Lodge and a stroll through the Ansel Adams gallery in the village, leaving us with ample time and inspiration to visit all the usual suspects along with a few spots and moments we were able to call our own.
We began with a quick stop at Bridalveil Falls before indulging in a leisurely stroll through the meadow across from the village, where I came face to face with a family of deer as they grazed just before the Yosemite Valley Chapel for an impromptu photo shoot as the sun made it’s way behind the valley walls. On our way out of the park, the final rays of sunlight were hitting Bridalveil Falls just perfectly, so we had to stop at the Merced River to snap a few shots on our way out of the valley back to the cabin. Not a bad first day!
The next couple of days were consumed with activity after activity that was sure to keep the kids busy and curious. As my cousin and her family biked through the valley, my aunt and I decided to hike our way to Mirror Lake. Then we spent a good half of a day making our way the Mist Trail to Vernal Falls, part of the John Muir trail. The falls were spectacular. We arrived as they were perfectly lit by the early afternoon sun and the perpetual rainbow displayed herself in all her glory. We then strolled through Mariposa Grove, where giant sequoias that are as old as Jesus, some of which that had trunks that reached 100 feet wide and that have survived close to 100 fires, towered proudly above us all.
We managed to make it to Glacier Point two evenings in a row for sunset. The first night we barely made it in time due to missing the turn onto Glacier Point Road, which, actually turned out for the better as this gave us our one and only bear sighting of the trip (I apologize in advance for the blurry picture, but, well, it was the best I could manage given the circumstances and our distance at the time), and to everyone’s delight, my cousin’s older daughter, the 8 year old, practically begged us to return the next night, our final night, for a proper showing. After a relaxing 4-mile ride on the Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad's #10, the largest narrow gauge Shay steam train every built, we gladly obliged.
Anyhow, needless to say, photo opportunities greeted us every step of the way. Below is a gallery of some of my favorite images from the week, all of which were taken on either the Samsung NX1 or the new Samsung NX500, their latest 4k shooting mini-beast. That video below? Yup…shot on the NX500 with it’s kit 16-50mm PowerZoom lens (make sure to hit that little gear thingy icon and choose 4K). And to check out Stephen Chiang’s captures, many of which showcase his family and children in a very heartwarming and uniquely idyllic way, check out his Instagram feed. That’s one you’ll want to follow.
So yeah, I know, I said I’d try to go easy on the words, but…well…uh…yeah...
Canvas prints of some of these are available on my Crated site or my Fine Art America site. If you don’t see the one you like, please don't hesitate to contact me and I’ll prepare it for print for you.
Also, click here for a background wallpaper for your mobile devices from that trip.
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