Category

Sierra Nevada

Yosemite Valley in Spring, May 2018

California, National Parks, Sierra Nevada, Yosemite

I try to get into Yosemite Valley each Spring, usually in May since that is when Yosemite’s waterfalls are at their most impressive. This year I spent a couple days photographing and hiking in early May. The dogwood bloom was peaking and, while I am not a wildflower photographer, I took a few images of them for posterity seeing as they were so nice. But the true motivation for me was, as always, making several hikes under blue skies and puffy clouds. Enjoying Spring in Yosemite requires that one skillfully avoid traffic and crowds, but fortunately during a lifetime in California I’ve learned a few things about how to negotiate an increasingly crowded Yosemite Valley, and I managed to hike around to nearly all my favorite spots over two long days. Chief among them was a requisite quickie jaunt up the Mist Trail (best in May, bring your poncho). I came away with a handful of nice images. They are not the usual moody sunset/sunrise views that most landscape photographers are after; I prefer to depict Yosemite in midday since that’s when the hiking is best! Canvas and face-mounted acrylic prints are available, with each of the following photographs available up to 60″ in the long dimension. Cheers, and thanks for looking!

Vernal Falls at peak flow in late spring, viewed from the Mist Trail, Yosemite National Park, California

Vernal Falls at peak flow in late spring, viewed from the Mist Trail
Image ID: 34539
Location: Vernal Falls, Yosemite National Park, California, USA

Bridalveil Falls at sunset, with clouds and blue sky in the background. Bridalveil Falls in Yosemite drops 620 feet (188 m) from a hanging valley to the floor of Yosemite Valley, Yosemite National Park, California

Bridalveil Falls at sunset, with clouds and blue sky in the background. Bridalveil Falls in Yosemite drops 620 feet (188 m) from a hanging valley to the floor of Yosemite Valley.
Image ID: 34540
Location: Bridalveil Falls, Yosemite National Park, California, USA

Half Dome and Clouds Rest, Sunset, Yosemite National Park

Half Dome and Clouds Rest, Sunset, Yosemite National Park
Image ID: 34541
Location: Yosemite National Park, California, USA

Yosemite Valley Tunnel View, Storm clouds at sunset, Yosemite National Park

Yosemite Valley Tunnel View, Storm clouds at sunset, Yosemite National Park
Image ID: 34542
Location: Yosemite National Park, California, USA

Cathedral Rocks at sunrise, reflected in a spring meadow flooded by the Merced River, Yosemite National Park, California

Cathedral Rocks at sunrise, reflected in a spring meadow flooded by the Merced River.
Image ID: 34546
Location: Cathedral Rocks, Yosemite National Park, California, USA

Yosemite Falls rises above the Merced River, viewed from the Swinging Bridge. The 2425' falls is the tallest in North America, Yosemite National Park, California

Yosemite Falls rises above the Merced River, viewed from the Swinging Bridge. The 2425′ falls is the tallest in North America
Image ID: 34547
Location: Yosemite Falls, Yosemite National Park, California, USA

Upper Yosemite Falls near peak flow in spring. Yosemite Falls, at 2425 feet tall (730m) is the tallest waterfall in North America and fifth tallest in the world, Yosemite National Park, California

Upper Yosemite Falls near peak flow in spring. Yosemite Falls, at 2425 feet tall (730m) is the tallest waterfall in North America and fifth tallest in the world
Image ID: 34550
Location: Yosemite Falls, Yosemite National Park, California, USA

Mountain dogwood, or Pacific dogwood, blooming in spring in Yosemite Valley, Yosemite National Park, California

Mountain dogwood, or Pacific dogwood, blooming in spring in Yosemite Valley
Image ID: 34551
Location: Yosemite National Park, California, USA

Black Oaks below El Capitan, Quercus kelloggii, El Capitan meadow, Yosemite Valley, Yosemite National Park, California

Black Oaks below El Capitan, Quercus kelloggii, El Capitan meadow, Yosemite Valley
Image ID: 34557
Location: Yosemite National Park, California, USA

Dusk on Vogelsang Peak, Yosemite National Park, California

Sierra Nevada, Yosemite

The last time I stayed at Vogelsang High Sierra Camp, my dad and I took the Rafferty Canyon trail and arrived about 3pm. For some reason I still had some energy so I took off and tried for the summit of Vogelsang Peak, arriving just shortly before sunset. The view was spectacular, an unobstructed view of much of the high country around Yosemite National Park. I got back to camp well after dinner but my dad had saved a plate of food for me, which I scarfed up. I crashed hard that night after covering about 13 miles. It was a good day. Cheers, and thanks for looking!

Vogelsang Peak (11516') at sunset, reflected in a small creek near Vogelsang High Sierra Camp in Yosemite's high country, Yosemite National Park, California

Vogelsang Peak (11516′) at sunset, reflected in a small creek near Vogelsang High Sierra Camp in Yosemite’s high country.
Image ID: 23202
Location: Yosemite National Park, California, USA

Panoramic view of the Cathedral Range from the summit of Vogelsang Peak (11500').  The shadow of Vogelsang Peak can be seen in the middle of the picture, Yosemite National Park, California

Panoramic view of the Cathedral Range from the summit of Vogelsang Peak (11500′). The shadow of Vogelsang Peak can be seen in the middle of the picture.
Image ID: 25751
Location: Yosemite National Park, California, USA

Townsley Lake and Cathedral Range at Sunrise, Yosemite National Park

Sierra Nevada, Yosemite

One of my favorite lakes in the Sierra Nevada is Townsley Lake, located a bit above and not far from the Vogelsang High Sierra Camp in Yosemite National Park. Every time I stay at Vogelsang I make sure to spend at least one sunrise at Townsley, where I have always had quiet solitude and wonderful morning light. Vogelsang means “bird song” in German, and while I made this photograph that was indeed all I could hear: the chirping of small birds and nothing else. Two other beautiful, typical, granite-basin Sierra Nevada lakes are very close to Townsley; Hanging Basket Lake (you can actually see a bit of light bouncing around the hanging valley containing Hanging Basket at the far right of this image, below the sunlit Cathedral Range), and a lake I like to call “Nameless Lake” about 1/2 mile above and to the left of this image. All three can be easily bagged in a half-day hike from Vogelsang High Sierra camp. Cheers, and thanks for looking!

Cathedral Range peaks reflected in the still waters of Townsley Lake at sunrise, Yosemite National Park, California

Cathedral Range peaks reflected in the still waters of Townsley Lake at sunrise.
Image ID: 25756
Location: Yosemite National Park, California, USA

Lembert Dome Sunset, Tuolumne Meadows, Yosemite National Park

Sierra Nevada, Yosemite

Nice pastel light hits the clouds and lights up Lembert Dome rising above Tuolumne Meadows in Yosemite National Park, California. An easy hike takes one to the top of Lembert Dome for expansive views of Tuolumne Meadows and the high Sierra Nevada around the eastern side of Yosemite National Park. Cheers and thanks for looking!

Lembert Dome and late afternoon clouds rise above Tuolumne Meadows in the High Sierra, catching the fading light of sunset, Yosemite National Park, California

Lembert Dome and late afternoon clouds rise above Tuolumne Meadows in the High Sierra, catching the fading light of sunset.
Image ID: 09938
Location: Tuolumne Meadows, Yosemite National Park, California, USA

Milky Way over Sky Rock Petroglyph, Volcanic Tablelands, Bishop, California

Astrophotography and Night Scapes, Sierra Nevada

Milky Way over Sky Rock Petroglyph, Volcanic Tablelands, Bishop, California.

I made this image several years ago but neglected to share any images from that evening’s photographic efforts on my blog. I have made many visits to the Volcanic Tablelands, at all times of day, to explore the rocks, admire the vistas over the Owens River, and photograph one of the finest petroglyph panels in the world. In this composition, I waited for a specific date when the Milky Way could be effectively photographed above the petroglyphs with Mount Tom and the Sierra Nevada range aligned in the distance. It was a very cold evening, I wore all the clothes I had on hand, but after several hours of trying different compositions I managed several images I am very happy with. Sky Rock is a magical place at night, with ancient light emanating from stars many hundreds and thousands of light years away cascading down upon these special, old and impressive engravings. It is just the type of place I enjoy photographing at night, with no other people around, no photo workshop groups, no RVs, no automobile sounds — nothing. Solitude. I have also photographed these petroglyphs under a full moon as well as under pastel dawn skies, as well as a massive panorama of this location that I will be sharing soon. Cheers and thanks for looking!

The Milky Way at Night over Sky Rock.  Sky Rock petroglyphs near Bishop, California. Hidden atop an enormous boulder in the Volcanic Tablelands lies Sky Rock, a set of petroglyphs that face the sky. These superb examples of native American petroglyph artwork are thought to be Paiute in origin, but little is known about them

The Milky Way at Night over Sky Rock. Sky Rock petroglyphs near Bishop, California. Hidden atop an enormous boulder in the Volcanic Tablelands lies Sky Rock, a set of petroglyphs that face the sky. These superb examples of native American petroglyph artwork are thought to be Paiute in origin, but little is known about them.
Image ID: 28798
Location: Bishop, California, USA

Sky Rock Petroglyph with the Milky Way Rising over the Sierra Nevada

Astrophotography and Night Scapes, Sierra Nevada

The Milky Way Galaxy rises in the night sky over the Sierra Nevada, with the Sky Rock Petroglyph panel in the foreground. I’m sure the original creator of this remarkable set of petroglyphs — considered by some to be the finest petroglyph panel in the world — had even darker skies than we do today and a much better view of the Milky Way, hundreds or thousands of years ago when he chiseled these strange shapes into the desert varnish of the volcanic tablelands. Cheers and thanks for looking!

The Milky Way at Night over Sky Rock.  Sky Rock petroglyphs near Bishop, California. Hidden atop an enormous boulder in the Volcanic Tablelands lies Sky Rock, a set of petroglyphs that face the sky. These superb examples of native American petroglyph artwork are thought to be Paiute in origin, but little is known about them

The Milky Way at Night over Sky Rock. Sky Rock petroglyphs near Bishop, California. Hidden atop an enormous boulder in the Volcanic Tablelands lies Sky Rock, a set of petroglyphs that face the sky. These superb examples of native American petroglyph artwork are thought to be Paiute in origin, but little is known about them.
Image ID: 28798
Location: Bishop, California, USA

Sky Rock and Full Moon, Chalfant Petroglyphs, Volcanic Tablelands

Astrophotography and Night Scapes, Sierra Nevada

Sky Rock and Moonlight, Bishop, California. (See also my photograph of Sky Rock at Dawn, Bishop, California and a gallery of other Sky Rock Petroglyph photos.) The Sky Rock Petroglyphs sit atop of an enormous volcanic block. The petroglyphs — dozens of them in many shapes and forms — face the sky, thus lending Sky Rock its name. My understanding is that Sky Rock’s orientation toward the heavens is unusual, but also curious is that this set of petroglyphs sits alone, isolated some 5+ miles from the rich Chalfant, Chidalgo and Red Rock petroglyph collections. Chipped into the rock, through the darker “desert varnish” that typically covers the exterior of such rocks, the Sky Rock Petroglyphs expose the lighter-colored rock underneath. The history of Sky Rock is not clear to me, although I have seen a number of published suggestions that the Sky Rock Petroglyphs were perhaps created by ancestors of what are today known as the Owens Valley Paiute (or Shoshone-Paiute) people.

Sky Rock at night, light by moonlight with stars in the clear night sky above.  Sky Rock petroglyphs near Bishop, California. Hidden atop an enormous boulder in the Volcanic Tablelands lies Sky Rock, a set of petroglyphs that face the sky. These superb examples of native American petroglyph artwork are thought to be Paiute in origin, but little is known about them

Sky Rock at night, light by moonlight with stars in the clear night sky above. Sky Rock petroglyphs near Bishop, California. Hidden atop an enormous boulder in the Volcanic Tablelands lies Sky Rock, a set of petroglyphs that face the sky. These superb examples of native American petroglyph artwork are thought to be Paiute in origin, but little is known about them.
Image ID: 28505

If you like this image, be sure to visit my Landscape Astrophotography website.

Milky Way Arching over Sky Rock Petroglyphs at Night, Bishop

Astrophotography and Night Scapes, Sierra Nevada

Sky Rock Petroglyph and the Milky Way Galaxy, Bishop, California

This image has been a goal of mine for some years. Ever since I first saw Sky Rock in person, and realized how fully its skyward gaze ties it — and its visionary creator of many centuries ago — to the stars above, I wanted to depict the Sky Rock Petroglyph beneath the night sky. Sky Rock is considered by some to be the finest single petroglyph panel found anywhere; it is certainly the best I have ever seen. This panorama, spanning 220 degrees horizontally and 160 degrees from top to bottom, is based on 51 separate 36mp exposures. I’ve created it using two projections: the Mercator projection (below) and the spherical projection (link).

The Milky Way at Night over Sky Rock.  Sky Rock petroglyphs near Bishop, California. Hidden atop an enormous boulder in the Volcanic Tablelands lies Sky Rock, a set of petroglyphs that face the sky. These superb examples of native American petroglyph artwork are thought to be Paiute in origin, but little is known about them

The Milky Way at Night over Sky Rock. Sky Rock petroglyphs near Bishop, California. Hidden atop an enormous boulder in the Volcanic Tablelands lies Sky Rock, a set of petroglyphs that face the sky. These superb examples of native American petroglyph artwork are thought to be Paiute in origin, but little is known about them.
Image ID: 28817
Location: Bishop, California, USA

This enormous, high resolution panoramic image will print 11′ wide by 14′ high. Prints are available here. If you like this image, please see more Photos of Sky Rock Petroglyph and more Astrophotography Landscape photos.

A Taste of Fall Color

California, Sierra Nevada

Tracy and I will be looking for fall colors in a different place this autumn: Paris and the Loire Valley. A friend who has just returned from Paris says the Luxembourg Gardens are in magnificent bloom and trees should be turning along the Seine, so we are hopeful for some nice autumn color and mood while we are there. Unfortunately, though, I won’t be making any visits to the Eastern Sierra in October, for the first time in some years. I miss it, especially a few of my secret spots that yield nice photos year after year. This is one of them. I hope to get back here next October. Cheers!

White trunks of aspen trees, viewed upward toward the yellow and orange leaves of autumn and the blue sky beyond, Populus tremuloides, Bishop Creek Canyon, Sierra Nevada Mountains

White trunks of aspen trees, viewed upward toward the yellow and orange leaves of autumn and the blue sky beyond.
Image ID: 23337
Species: Aspen, Populus tremuloides
Location: Bishop Creek Canyon, Sierra Nevada Mountains, California, USA

Unicorn Peak and Cockscomb Peak, Yosemite National Park

California, Sierra Nevada, Yosemite

Some years ago I stood with my young daughter in the far northwest end of Tuolumne Meadows in Yosemite National Park, watching a group of mule deer graze and enjoying the grassy expanse, when we turned around and realized we had this great view of Unicorn Peak (10,880′ left) and Cockscomb Peak (11,065′ right). I find these to be two of the more distinctive granite rock formations in the Yosemite High Sierra. Both peaks are on my bucket list, not having bagged either yet.

Unicorn Peak at sunset, seen from Tuolumne Meadows.  Cockscomb Peak rises in the distance, Yosemite National Park, California

Unicorn Peak at sunset, seen from Tuolumne Meadows. Cockscomb Peak rises in the distance.
Image ID: 09945
Location: Tuolumne Meadows, Yosemite National Park, California, USA