Past snapshots: frozen sunset

Going through old photos, another trip to Yosemite. This one was pretty special, a New Year’s Eve weekend following a long cold spell but no big snowstorms. We were able to go up to Tenaya Lake, which had frozen solid. It was really beautiful standing in the middle of that mountain lake watching the sun set and the moon rise.

Past Snapshots: Yosemite

Wrapping up my trip through 2011 photos was a September trip to Yosemite, another one of my absolute favorite places. Of all my trips there, this one stuck in my mind for negative connections with a family emergency that happened just afterwards. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed returning to these photos. The short trip was packed full of classic Yosemite moments: an icy morning in Tuolumne Meadows, a scramble hike to Gaylor and Granite Lakes, afternoon and sunset along the Tuolumne River, a quick stop at Fern Springs, ravens and El Capitan views from Taft Point, and a final sunset on Sentinel Dome. My approach and style has changed in the last eight years, but there were still a lot of shots I like.  I hope they make you smile too.

Yosemite in snow

I’ve been lucky enough to visit Yosemite many times, and especially often since I moved back to California a couple years ago. Despite two previous January trips; however, I had yet to see the valley in the snow. A recent visit during this winter’s storms finally solved that, and it was incredible to see the Merced River in full flow, and the ice and snow on the valley floor and mountain tops.

The snow had spent a couple days melting and re-freezing, creating stunning ice crystals on branches, rocks, and blades of grass. We were treated to two colorful sunsets and a gorgeous early morning rainbow in Upper Yosemite Fall. It was amazing to see mist forming and disappearing throughout the day as the snow warmed and cooled with the passage of the sun.

Looking down on the day of the eclipse

Having had a lot of luck shooting the last two lunar eclipses locally, this time around I ventured to Yosemite, one of my favorite places to wander and photograph. Unfortunately the day and night of the eclipse were consistently overcast, and our careful planning yielded only one rather dim shot of the celestial event. However, the clouds provided good conditions for exploring macro photography, and so from a day when I’d hoped to fix my eyes on the wonders of the sky, I instead present to you a gallery of things small, low to the ground, and beautiful all the same.

The orange bugs are the larval stage of milkweed bugs, pictured here on (surprise) milkweed pods, which they feed on and collect toxins from, much as monarchs do.

After the fire

In 2013, the Rim Fire burned over 250,000 acres of forest in the Sierra Nevada mountains. The fire spread into Yosemite National Park, and burned right up to Tuolomne Grove, one of the park’s three ancient groves of Giant Sequoias. Thanks to some backburning efforts to clear out the brush, and mild winds on those days, all of the big trees were spared. Many of their younger neighbors, however, were not so fortunate. On my visit this spring, I was struck by the contrast of budding flowers and new growth against this charred landscape.


Sneak peek of Yosemite in the Fall

I spent this weekend in Yosemite, taking pictures until my fingers were stiff with cold. The colors were beautiful–yellow Cottonwoods and Maples, red Dogwoods, and orange Oaks–and we lucked into quite a few animal sightings, including deer, bears, ravens, and hundreds of ladybugs. I’m still working my way through my photos, but here is one to tide you over.

Summer in the Sierras

I’ve been lucky enough to make multiple trips to the Sierra Nevadas this summer, including two camping trips in Yosemite and a visit to Bear Valley and Columbia historic gold town.