It was almost the visit that never was. I had spent 7 blissful magical days at Death Valley. Next stop was Yosemite but all accommodation was nearly sold out and all Sierra Mountain passes still snowed over. I was looking at a 2 day long detour of what is about 70 miles as the crow flies to cross the Sierra Mountain. Any roof over my head at Yosemite was going to come with a hefty price tag. It would also come with dramatically lower temperatures than Death Valley and I love the heat. I eventually relented and decided under no circumstances could I miss shooting and seeing Yosemite National Park, the hallowed grounds of Ansel Adams. I made the right decision as no classic Ansel image could prepare me for the power of Yosemite National Park.
As I drive from the Southwest into the Sierra Mountains my jaw is already on the floor of my Nissan Spaceship. This landscape defines the word stunning. Huge granite walls flank my car and a very loud and violent Merced River provides the soundtrack. Once into Yosemite National Park I nearly drive my Nissan in the river when all towering 910 meters of El Capitan enters my world. No image can truly capture how much awe this granite monolith inspires. No amount of previous exposures through photos takes away from First Contact with Yosemite.
The Image – Power of Yosemite
This is the best of my images from Yosemite. To me, Yosemite is all about drama, power and forces beyond human understanding. This valley was dramatically carved out by a glacier moving at the speed of…well a glacier. Forces beyond our comprehension created this larger than life valley. For drama I need more help from Mother Nature, clear blue skies will not do me well here. I concentrate, relax and fortunately Mother Nature obliges and I summon a dark violent rain storm on an otherwise sunny day. I create this image, Power of Yosemite:
This is a stitch of 3 horizontal images. I spent about an hour enjoying this splendid view and watching the storm move across the valley while the sun played with light beams. I click the remote shutter when I see the sun lighting up Yosemite falls. This may look quite processed but I have only added some contrast and a bit more painting with light. Mother Nature did all the work, I just captured the very right moment of time when the sun lit up the perfect scene.
Visiting Yosemite National Park
I visited in the beginning of May before the peak season and I avoided the weekend. Still, Yosemite is very popular and was very crowded. I paid a fortune for a room in a lodge 8 km’s from the park. Several times driving the valley loop I came close to dying of frustration as I could not park anywhere and missed shots. This is not a desolate one on one with Mother Nature, there are tourists, trekkers, huge crowds and tour busses everywhere. Not to mention photographers. Do not think I have met so many photogs and photo clubs in one location nor seen so many photo-vests; a rather sad sight! Cars are becoming a real problem at Yosemite, there’s only so much space in the narrow valley. As I exited the park on a Saturday morning the cars queuing to get in stretched for miles down the mountain. This winter had heavy snow fall so there was much snow melt in the rivers and waterfalls. Unfortunately this also meant Glacier Point was still under 2 meters of snow and I do not have a really satisfying image of Half
Moon Dome. I must return.
Yosemite Part II
This is one location I doubt I shall ever tire off. I must shoot a panorama from Glacier Point. I must capture Yosemite during a snow storm, despite my fear of snow. I shall bring a 4WD and camping gear. I must return for more Power of Yosemite.
Enjoy more images from Yosemite in my Valleys and Canyons USA gallery – more images to come: FlemmingBoJensen.com/gallery/usavalleyscanyons/