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Posts tagged ‘Yosemite National Park’

PHOTOS THAT FILL THE FRAME

Upper Yosemite Falls, Yosemite National Park

“If you want to be a better photographer, stand in front of more interesting stuff.”   Jim Richardson

“To me, photography is an art of observation. It’s about finding something interesting in an ordinary place. I’ve found it has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them.”  Elliott Erwitt

Taking photographs can be seen as an easy task. Just point the camera (or phone these days) and click.  But some photographs are better than others.  They somehow capture our attention, pull us in, make us pause for a moment, help us appreciate what we see.  These reactions are what I like about photography.  Plus the captured memories.

Pretty Buds, Yosemite National Park

But how do photographers capture those photos.  In great part, it is trial and error.  Some good advice is to fill the frame.  Get close to the subject.  Look for different perspectives. See what can be eliminated from the photo as well as added.  Experiment by taking lots of photos.

Here are some more of my photos where I was able to fill the frame.

Tuolumne Meadow, Tioga Road, Yosemite National Park

Yucca Bud, Red Rock Canyon, California

Mount Whitney Behind Alabama Hills, California

Great Fritillary Butterfly, Whitney Portal Road, California

Of course, there are also times when I literally frame a photo in my side view mirror.  Let me explain.  I am a roadside naturalist.  My mobility limitations mean that I experience nature along scenic drives, staying in my car to capture whatever wonders I can.  A long time ago, I accidentally caught an interesting photo in my side view mirror. Since then, I look for what I might otherwise miss in those side view mirrors.

Back Roads around Bishop, California

Flowers in Carrizo Plain, California

Afternoon Light, Leaving Carrizo Plain, California

Autumn Leaves along the Merced River, Yosemite National Park

Aspen Grove Near Bishop, California

Hills along Highway 58 Heading to Carrizo Plain, California

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Some Quotes to Remind Photographers to Just Take Photos

“There are no rules for good photographers, there are only good photographs.”  Ansel Adams

“I walk, I look, I see, I stop, I photograph.”  Leon Levinstein

“You don’t take a photograph, you make it.”   Ansel Adams

“To consult the rules of composition before making a picture is a little like consulting the law of gravitation before going for a walk.”  Edward Weston

“A good photograph is knowing where to stand.”   Ansel Adams

“Best wide-angle lens?  Two steps backward. Look for the ‘ah-ha.’”   Ernst Haas

“Sometimes I do get to places just when God’s ready to have somebody click the shutter.”  Ansel Adams

This post is my response to the Lens Artist Photo Challenge 66: Filling the Frame.

Driving Tioga Road in September

Yosemite’s Tioga Pass Road is an incredible drive.  In fact, it is my favorite scenic drive.  It offers the usual twists, turns and inclines of most mountain roads.  But it also passes through a range of gorgeous landscapes.

Tunnel View

El Capitan

This year, after an unusually heavy winter, the road was not open for unrestricted driving until July (vs. its usual May opening).  In mid-September, I wandered into Yosemite National Park, entering via Wawona and Tunnel View. Eventually, I headed east on Highway 120, officially starting onto Tioga Road near Yosemite’s Big Oak Flat entrance.

From this juncture outside of Yosemite Valley, the drive rises gradually from about 6,000 feet through pine trees, heading along Highway 120 toward Tioga Pass, which is roughly 50 miles away at almost 10,000 feet.  The road itself winds through sheer granite cliffs, showcasing impressive craggy rock walls, trees erupting from the rocks and fantastic views.

There Was Even a Mushroom Growing on a Tree Trunk

There were even some wildflowers still lingering along the road.

I Love Lupine, But This Was the Only Little Bud In Sight

An impressive stop is Olmsted Point, sitting at 7,500 feet.  The trees, by this time, have diminished, and the impressive views of the granite rocks and mountains stretch in all directions.  In the distance, you can even see Half Dome. The boulders are strewn everywhere.

That’s Half Dome in the Distance

At one parking area, there were some butterflies and bees who actually posed a bit for photographs.  This delightful little butterfly is called a Great Spangled Fritillary.

Tenaya Lake is the next gem that surfaces along the road.  Its sparkling blue waters are eye-catching.

My favorite stretch along this drive wanders along Toulumne Meadows.  This wide expanse is a gentle dome-shaped, sub-alpine meadow, sitting at 8,619 feet.  Its 39 inches of rain annually comes mainly in the form of snowfall.  The spring is probably the most beautiful time of year to visit the meadows when there are marshes and wildflowers scattered across the area. I last drove this route in August 2017. But any time of year, the wide expanse is impressive.

Not far past Toulumne Meadows, the drive ascends to Tioga Pass, sitting at 9,945 feet.  From there the road descends fairly quickly on a steep drop to the park entrance not far from U.S. Highway 395.  Tioga Lake sits along this stretch of the route.

As Highway 120 nears Highway 395, the rocks take on a reddish hue indicating some iron must be in the rocks.

At the end of the drive, I settled in at a hotel in Bishop. I stopped at Erick Schat’s Bakkery in the morning before heading home.

It was a great drive!

DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE DRIVE YOU’VE DISCOVERED IN YOUR TRAVELS?

 

YOSEMITE IN MAY

It is always a good time to visit Yosemite National Park.

My last trip was about a month ago, just before Memorial Day.  A storm was predicted, but the threat of rain and winds rarely stops me.  It ended up being a great trip.  Even though it was a little cloudy and foggy at times, the crowds were not as large as they could be and some wildflowers were still lingering along the road.  I even saw some Dogwood Blossoms!

My visit was not long. I only wandered Yosemite Valley a couple afternoons, entering and exiting the park on Highway 41 via Wawona as well as on Highway 140 from Merced.

Along Highway 140

A few California Poppies were evident.

I always like seeing Indian Paintbrush.

 

I had not seen much Lupine this year, so enjoyed finding these along the road.

Along Highway 41

More Lupine!

Tunnel View

In & Around Yosemite Valley

 

I do like Lupine!

I love this little spring erupting along side the road.

All of a sudden, one stretch of road was blanketed in fog. Lovely.

Along the Merced River

Relaxing Near a Pond

A Brewer’s Blackbird, I think.

Two Acorn Woodpeckers were busy on this stump, but it was quite far off.

Here’s a better view of an Acorn Woodpecker, seen a few weeks earlier in Bakersfield.

Some Wild Irises.  I love these!

These Two Mallards were pretty active.

An American Raven

Some Dogwood Trees Were Still in Bloom

It was a great trip! 

I am contemplating a drive over the Tioga Pass later this year.  But I am not sure when.  The Tioga Pass—which usually opens by late May—is finally open, a little bit now.  Vehicles can travel the road for an hour each morning and then again an hour each afternoon. No services are open and no camping or parking are allowed.  When Tioga Pass fully opens, there is some planned road maintenance that needs to happen.  Maybe September?

Where is a place in Nature you return to again and again?

Fall Colors in Yosemite Valley

“It was a beautiful, bright autumn day, with air like cider and a sky so blue you could drown in it.”   Diana Gabaldon

“Autumn, the year’s last, loveliest smile.”   William Cullen Bryant

The last day of my 2018 Fall Color Trek was a visit to Yosemite National Park.  I drove in via my favorite route, Highway 40, passing by Wanona and then heading into Yosemite Valley. Fall colors lined the road, putting on a beautiful show.

Cloud’s Rest from Tunnel View

A Glimpse of Bridal Veil Falls

El Capitan

I love relaxing along the Merced River

These deer refused to pose!

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Quotes about the Wonder of Autumn

“Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking successive autumns.”  George Eliot

“October is a symphony of permanence and change.”  Bonaro W. Overstreet

“Even if something is left undone, everyone must take time to sit still and watch the leaves turn.”   Elizabeth Lawrence

“Every leaf speaks bliss to me, fluttering from the autumn tree.”  Emily Bronte

“Winter is an etching, spring a watercolor, summer an oil painting and autumn a mosaic of them all.”  Stanley Horowitz

“Autumn burned brightly, a running flame through the mountains, a torch flung to the trees.”   Faith Baldwin

“No Spring nor Summer Beauty hath such grace as I have seen in one Autumnal face.”   John Donne

“In the garden, Autumn is indeed the crowning glory of the year, bringing us the fruition of months of thought and care and toil. And at no season, save perhaps in Daffodil time, do we get such superb colour effects as from August to November.”  Rose G. Kingsley

“I’ve never known anyone yet who doesn’t suffer a certain restlessness when autumn rolls around.  We’re all eight years old again and anything is possible.”   Sue Grafton

 “Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.”   Albert Camus

“How beautiful leaves grow old. How full of light and color are their last days.”   John Burrough

“Autumn asks that we prepare for the future—that we be wise in the ways of gathering and keeping.  But is also asks that we learn to let go—to acknowledge the beauty of sparseness.”   Bonaro W. Overstreet

“Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.”  F. Scott Fitzgerald

“Fall has always been my favorite season.  The time when everything bursts with its last beauty, as if nature had been saving up all year for the grand finale.”   Lauren Destefano

 “If a year was tucked inside of a clock, then autumn would be the magic hour.”   Victoria Erickson

“There is harmony in autumn, and a luster in its sky.”   Percy Bysshe Shelley

Fall Colors Along Highway 120 (Tioga Road, Yosemite)

This year, while on my Nature Trek to find some autumn colors, I decided I would drive Highway 120, east to west.  It is one of my favorite roads, taking me over the Tioga Pass and into Yosemite National Park.  I was not expecting much color given the elevations, but the views are gorgeous regardless.  But some pretty fall foliage did jump out on display.

There is a little service station set up at the juncture of Highway 395 and Highway 120.  This area had some pretty trees.

Some side roads before reaching Yosemite National Park entrance also showed some color.

Tioga Lake is always inviting, sitting just east of the entrance to Yosemite.

Entering Yosemite National Park, color is not real evident.

Tenaya Lake sits right by the road.

Olmsted Point always shows some spectacular views.

But fall colors did start showing themselves, the further west I drove.

It was a beautiful drive!  To see the same drive in the summer, visit this post.  Highway 120 is impressive in every season.

Memories of Summer: Tioga Pass Road (August 2017)

Super Bloom 2017 was truly magnificent!  I took several little trips around California that spring, enjoying the wondrous blooms that seemed to be almost everywhere:  Carrizo Plain, Anza Borrego Desert State Park, and California Poppy Preserve were some of my favorite stops. I visited Yosemite National Park in June, hoping to see some wildflowers there as well.  My first stop was Yosemite Valley.

For the rest of that Yosemite trip, I had planned to drive across Tioga Pass Road to see what might be in bloom.  The road closes for winter every year, usually opening again by late May, so I did not foresee travel problems.  In 2017, however, the road did not open until the end of June.  Thus, my plan for driving over the pass had to wait.

I tried again in August on a beautiful sunny day, and the drive was wonderful.  The route started near the Big Crane Flat Road, taking Highway 120 east, traveling about 90 miles from Yosemite Valley to the Eastern Entrance to Yosemite. The initial easy ascent into the mountains showcased some great wildflowers.

As the elevation increased, the flowers gave way to trees, rocky hillsides, and eventually open vistas.

Olmstead Point is always a great place to stop and park.  There are even some short hikes that start from this parking area.  The views are incredible. I especially liked the big boulders that seem to be randomly scattered across the hills like marbles, awaiting for someone to come back and play.

Moving further east, Lake Tenaya came up alongside the road.  It is the largest natural lake in Yosemite National Park that is so close to a roadside.  If you take the time to stop and explore, there are some hikes in the area as well.

 

Highway 120 finally travels past Toulumne Meadows, my favorite part of the drive.  This sub-alpine meadow sits 8,755 feet high.  Although flowers were not extensive, the meadows were beautiful and expansive.

 

At various stops along the meadow, I took some videos to capture the panoramic sense of the meadows.

Moving beyond Tuolumne Meadows, the route finally reached Tioga Pass, at an elevation of 9.943 feet. Then it was a steep decline the six miles to the Eastern Entrance. The road passed Tioga Lake before connecting with Highway 395.

 

ANY DAY ANYWHERE IN YOSEMITE IS A GOOD DAY!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Memories of Summer: Yosemite Valley (2017)

The fires in California this summer are devastating.  The whole state seems to be ablaze. So many fire fighters are doing their best against the many raging infernos, but full containment is elusive.  Lives have been lost, not to mention houses and other structures destroyed.  Countless communities are on edge, either under evacuation orders or nervously watching the fires approach.

Google Image

No fires are close to me.  Thank goodness. Smoke is invading Bakersfield’s atmosphere and creating bad air days, but the actual blazes are not just down my road. For me, the fire that most worries me is the Ferguson Fire, raging near Yosemite National Park.  That fire has been burning for about a month and is about 82% contained.  Yosemite Valley and other parts of the park have been closed for over a week but are scheduled to re-open to visitors in a couple of days.  Of course, getting back to normal will take much longer—and the burned areas may only recover years from now.

To try to ease my worries about Yosemite, I reviewed photos from my visit about this time last year (August 2017).  The drive through the Valley was as incredible as ever.

Driving in from Wawona to take a tour through Yosemite Valley.

I always love the view of Cloud’s Rest, coming out of Tunnel View.

It was great to drive along the Merced River, finding places to stop and relax.

 

The Merced River was delightfully raging at spots.  A holdover from the previous year’s rain.

 

 

Let’s hope this year’s fires do not actually destroy this wonderful national park.  But more importantly, let’s pray all the fires are contained soon and further losses are minimized and the fire fighters and other front-line personnel are praised and thanked for all they do.

A Time to Relax? Anytime in Nature

“Taking time to do nothing often brings everything into perspective.”  Doc Zantamata

“The time to relax is when you don’t have time for it.” Sydney J. Harris

“Half our life is spent trying to find something to do with the time we have rushed through life trying to save.”  Will Rogers

“Every now and then go away, have a little relaxation, for when you come back to your work your judgment will be surer.”  Leonardo Da Vinci

We can all agree that relaxation is a necessity. Without it, our lives can stay too mired in the commotion and nonsense of our daily tasks and routines.  Like having low blood sugar, if I am frazzled, overloaded and busy for too long, I feel myself become more and more irritated and grumpy and less likely to easily accomplish even the simplest of tasks.

What I need is to relax and get my sanity back.  

Kolob Canyon, Utah

Valles Caldera, New Mexico

There are several things I do to find relaxation, such as reading murder mysteries or watching some westerns or old television shows.  Other activities include cooking, writing, visiting with friends, drinking some herbal tea or even eating some chocolate.  But I really like to go driving when I need a big dose of relaxation.  Not in town with long lights and traffic jams, road rage and rush hour, but driving out in Nature whether on a main highway or a back road.

When I travel in Nature, my worries and anxieties slowly evaporate as I embrace and appreciate all the beauty and solitude around me.

Mt Whitney via Portal Road

Driving on a country road is not simply an activity or even a destination. It is a pathway to solace and peace, to spiritual renewal and rejuvenation, to a renewed energy that will help me tackle life’s daily routines once again. As John Burroughs said, “I go to Nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in tune once more.”   Anytime is a good time for a Nature Road Trip, but the scenery is especially pretty in spring and fall.

YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK

“Earth and sky, woods and fields, lakes and rivers, the mountain and the sea, are excellent schoolmasters, and teach some of us more than we can ever learn from books.”  John Lubbock

 “To sit in the shade on a fine day and look upon verdure is the most perfect refreshment.”  Jane Austen

CARRIZO PLAIN NATIONAL MONUMENT

“Must be out-of-doors enough to get experience of wholesome reality, as a ballast to thought and sentiment. Health requires this relaxation, this aimless life.”  Henry David Thoreau

“Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.”  Albert Einstein

PETRIFIED FOREST & PAINTED DESERT

“Take a quiet walk with Mother Nature. It will nurture your mind, body, and soul.”  Anthony Douglas Williams

“Our task must be to free ourselves. . . by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.” Albert Einstein

“Nature is cheaper than therapy.”  M. P. Zarrella

SEE MOUNTAIN ROAD, NEAR SAN LUIS OBISBO, CALIFORNIA

“The physician heals, Nature makes well.”  Aristotle

“We can never have enough of Nature.”  Henry David Thoreau

JUNE LAKE LOOP, CALIFORNIA

A special bonus happens when a breeze rustles through the trees.

 

This post is my entry to Lens-Artists Photo Challenge Time to Relax.  I am a bit late in getting it posted, but I figured I would post anyway.

NATURE PHOTOGRAPHY DAY

“To walk in nature is to witness a thousand miracles.”  Mary Davis

Who knew?  June 15 has been designated by the North American Nature Photography Association as NATURE PHOTOGRAPHY DAY since 2009.  Did you know?  I didn’t.  Fortunately, even in my ignorance, I have been celebrating this holiday extensively throughout any given year anyway.

It is easy to take nature photographs.  One way to take nature photos is to go to incredible places—like Yosemite National Park or Monument Valley—and snap away at all you see.  However, you do not have to go anywhere special to enjoy Nature and capture its essence on film.  You can find the beauty, wonder and solace of Nature just about anywhere. Just take the time to notice what is around you.

Some of my favorite subjects are birds and trees and flowers. 

If you want to celebrate Nature Photography Day, just grab a camera and head outside. You can sit quietly for a bit in a garden, wander the sidewalks in your neighborhood or take a drive along a country road, even a highway once you are out of the city.  See what nature speaks to you.  Then capture the interaction by clicking the shutter.

Beware: Capturing the beauty and wonder of Nature in a photo can be habit-forming.

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QUOTES ABOUT NATURE

“We do not see Nature with our eyes, but with our understandings and our heart.”  William Hazlitt

“Adopt the pace of Nature; her secret is patience.”  Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Sometimes I arrive just when God’s ready to have someone click the shutter.”   Ansel Adams

“Enjoy the little things in life, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.”  Kurt Vonnegut

“If you truly love Nature, you will find beauty everywhere.”  Vincent Van Gogh

“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul alike.”  John Muir

“Nature, Time and Patience are the three great physicians.”  H. G. Bohn

“Some old-fashioned things like fresh air and sunshine are hard to beat.”   Laura Ingalls Wilder

“At some point in life, the world’s beauty becomes enough.”   Toni Morrison

“I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order.”   John Burroughs

“Once destroyed, Nature’s beauty cannot be repurchased at any price.”  Ansel Adams

“There’s something of the marvelous in all things nature.”  Aristole

“A morning glory at my window satisfies me more than the metaphysics of books.”   Walt Whitman

“Look deep into Nature, and then you will understand everything better.”   Albert Einstein

“Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.”   Lao Tzu

“Just feel the magic in the air and the power in the breeze.  Feel the energy of the plants, the bushes, and the trees.  Let yourself be surrounded by nature at its best.  Calm yourself, focus, and let magic do the rest.”   Sally Walker

SEARCHING FOR SPRING, PART 10: Yosemite National Park

I love Yosemite National Park. 

“The most striking and sublime features on the grandest scale, is the Yosemite.”   John Muir

“A perfect day would be to get into the car, drive out to Yosemite and go camping.”  Michael Steger

“It is all very beautiful and magical here (Yosemite), a quality which cannot be described.”  Ansel Adams

Since it is such a great place, I was not surprised to learn that there were 5.2 million visitors to the park in 2016.  I was surprised when I visited Yosemite near the end of May—but before Memorial Day—that all those people were there ahead of me on the main roads and taking up every single parking space.  Well, okay not all of them.  But at least about half!

Basically, it was crowded.

However, I was still able to find the dogwood blossoms that were the ostensible reason for my visit this spring.  (But does one really need a reason to visit Yosemite National Park?)  There were other flowers as well and lots of water!  Despite the crowds, it was a glorious trip.

“In every walk with Nature, one receives far more than he seeks.”   John Muir

As I entered Yosemite near the Wawona Inn, I was greeted by fields of lupine.  This hardy purple bloom kept me company throughout most of the drive throughout the park.

Dogwood Trees lined the roads, allowing wonderful glimpses of the blossoms floating among the leaves.

A drive through the park is always full of gorgeous vistas and delightful surprises.  On this trip, some spring blossoms and wonderful ferns popped up here and there along the roadsides. Of course, they were not so easy to photograph.  But the vistas were as peaceful and engaging as usual.   

The Merced River was wonderful, mercurial.  It still offered some peaceful pools that compel visitors to sit on its banks and appreciate life and nature.  But on this visit, the Merced also rushed past, even overflowing its banks periodically during the last several weeks given all the rain and snow melt this year.  I loved hearing the Merced rush by!

“Down through the middle of the Valley flows the crystal Merced, River of Mercy, peacefully quiet, reflecting lilies and trees and the onlooking rocks; things frail and fleeting and types of endurance meeting here and blending in countless forms, as if into this one mountain mansion Nature had gathered her choicest treasures, to draw her lovers into close and confiding communion with her.”   John Muir

The numerous waterfalls, of course, are also magnificently full this year.  What a delightful spring treat!

Upper Yosemite Falls (1430 feet):

Bridalveil Falls (617 feet):

If you have not visited Yosemite National Park, do so.

You will not be disappointed.

Please, consider speaking out and doing what you can to ma