Category

Yosemite

Photo of El Capitan, Yosemite National Park

California, Landscape, National Parks, Sierra Nevada, Yosemite

El Capitan, the massive granite monolith overlooking the western end of Yosemite Valley, is my favorite attraction in the park. It is beautiful and impressive from sunrise to sunset, under moonlight, in rain and when shrouded in mist. El Capitan, the largest known exposed granite block in the world, stands on the north side of the entrance to Yosemite Valley. Its name is Spanish for “the chief”, and this rock is indeed the most prominent feature of the west end of the Yosemite Valley, rivaled in significance only by Half Dome at the valley’s east end. At 3593 feet (1096 m) high, this massive rock is a popular — though difficult — climbing spot, attracting skilled big rock climbers from around the world. Visitors with binoculars can relax in El Capitan meadow to watch the climbers slowly make their way up the epic cliffs. Each year a few climbers are plucked off the sheer sides of El Capitan by a helicopter rescue team when they get in trouble. Ribbon Falls, on El Capitan’s west side, is Yosemite National Park’s highest unbroken waterfall (1612 ft, 492 m) and indeed one of the tallest in the world. Horsetail Falls, which flows off El Capitan for a few months in winter, produces a natural “firefall” for a few weeks in winter, if the conditions are right.

El Capitan eastern face, sunrise, Yosemite National Park, California

El Capitan eastern face, sunrise.
Image ID: 22745
Location: El Capitan, Yosemite National Park, California, USA

As an alternative to the usual view of El Capitan above, a couple days ago I posted an infrared photo of El Capitan, in which the granite face stood in stark contrast to the tree below it and the cloud-free sky above. If you like this, please see more of my Yosemite National Park stock photos.

Infrared Photo of Yosemite Falls and Leidig Meadow

California, Icons, Infrared, Landscape, National Parks, Sierra Nevada, Yosemite

I used the same digital infrared camera to photograph Leidig Meadow with upper Yosemite Falls. The skies were totally socked in, there was light rain and virtually no color, so normal color photographs were unappealing and immediately deleted. But a black and white conversion of one of the color channels from an infrared photograph gave what I felt was an attractive rendition of this picturesque Yosemite meadow. If you like this be sure to see more photos of Yosemite National Park.

Yosemite Falls, mist and and storm clouds, Yosemite National Park, California

Yosemite Falls, mist and and storm clouds.
Image ID: 22767
Location: Yosemite Falls, Yosemite National Park, California, USA

More infrared photographs.

Infrared Photo of El Capitan, Yosemite

California, Infrared, National Parks, Sierra Nevada, Yosemite

Here is an image of El Capitan, one of Yosemite Valley’s most iconic iconistic icons, made with an digital infrared camera. The camera senses infrared light only, rather than visible spectrum light, resulting in dark skies and foliage that glows. See more Yosemite National Park stock photos.

El Capitan eastern face, sunrise, Yosemite National Park, California

El Capitan eastern face, sunrise.
Image ID: 22770
Location: El Capitan, Yosemite National Park, California, USA

More infrared photographs.

Tenaya Lake Panoramic Photo

California, Landscape, National Parks, Panoramas, Sierra Nevada, Yosemite

In late summer a few years ago we took the kids to spend a few nights in Tuolumne Meadows and then drive over Tioga Pass to see Mono Lake. We stopped at Lake Tenaya for a swim and a picnic lunch on the way to the meadows. This is a panoramic image, composed of 8 separate photographs stitched (on the computer) into a single picture.

Panorama of Tenaya Lake, in Yosemite's high country, Yosemite National Park, California

Panorama of Tenaya Lake, in Yosemite’s high country.
Image ID: 19121
Location: Tenaya Lake, Yosemite National Park, California, USA

Click the image to see it larger.

Photo of Nevada Falls, Yosemite National Park

California, Landscape, National Parks, Sierra Nevada, Yosemite

Nevada Falls is one of Yosemite’s most spectacular waterfalls but is only reached with some effort. A 3.5 mile hike (one-way) up the Mist Trail, which includes a good soaking while passing by Vernal Falls along the way, is required to reach the summit of Nevada Falls, including 1900′ of vertical ascent. Nevada Falls lies, along with Vernal Falls, in the joints of narrow Little Yosemite Valley, faults in the valley that form angles and walls as the glacier-formed valley descends from Yosemite’s backcountry down to the main valley floor. It is at the joints that Nevada and Vernal falls occur, both dropping over sheer granite walls into boulder-strewn riverbeds below. Above Nevada Falls the Merced River flows placidly, green and glassy through pine forests. In the last several hundred yards before the brink, the river slopes downward a bit and increases in speed, enough that when it reaches the brink it shoots out dramatically and thunders 600′ down to the huge boulders before racing through forests to Vernal Falls 1.5 miles downstream. The hike to Nevada Falls begins at the summit of Vernal Falls, a natural resting point for the hiker who has just finished the soaking wet, thigh-burner steps alongside Vernal and needs a breather to recover and dry off in the sun. Leaving Vernal behind, one hikes through brief switchbacks open to the sun (not hot yet, since you are still wet) then through trees that obscure Nevada Falls for a while. After a half-mile or so the trees begin to open up, yielding stunning views of Nevada ahead. The trail then moves to a series of switchbacks among granite boulders that pass alongside Nevada Falls, near enough that one really appreciates the power manifest in the enormous amounts of water barreling over the cliff. Finally the summit is achieved, offering broad views of Little Yosemite Valley below all the across to Glacier Point. A bridge over the Merced River is placed just before the Merced plunges over the falls, and wide granite aprons on either side of the river make for great picnic spots. For the descent to Vernal Falls and the valley, its best to take the alternate route back down via the John Muir trail as it has superb views of Nevada Falls with Half Dome and Liberty Cap rising above it.

Nevada Falls marks where the Merced River plummets almost 600 through a joint in the Little Yosemite Valley, shooting out from a sheer granite cliff and then down to a boulder pile far below, Yosemite National Park, California

Nevada Falls marks where the Merced River plummets almost 600 through a joint in the Little Yosemite Valley, shooting out from a sheer granite cliff and then down to a boulder pile far below.
Image ID: 16114
Location: Nevada Falls, Yosemite National Park, California, USA

Nevada Falls, with Liberty Cap (center) and Half Dome (left). Nevada Falls marks where the Merced River plummets almost 600 through a joint in the Little Yosemite Valley, shooting out from a sheer granite cliff and then down to a boulder pile far below, Yosemite National Park, California

Nevada Falls, with Liberty Cap (center) and Half Dome (left). Nevada Falls marks where the Merced River plummets almost 600 through a joint in the Little Yosemite Valley, shooting out from a sheer granite cliff and then down to a boulder pile far below.
Image ID: 16115
Location: Nevada Falls, Yosemite National Park, California, USA

Nevada Falls marks where the Merced River plummets almost 600 through a joint in the Little Yosemite Valley, shooting out from a sheer granite cliff and then down to a boulder pile far below, Yosemite National Park, California

Nevada Falls marks where the Merced River plummets almost 600 through a joint in the Little Yosemite Valley, shooting out from a sheer granite cliff and then down to a boulder pile far below.
Image ID: 16116
Location: Nevada Falls, Yosemite National Park, California, USA

Keywords: Nevada Falls, waterfall, Yosemite National Park<

Bridalveil Falls Rainbow

California, Landscape, National Parks, Sierra Nevada, Yosemite

During spring months with heavy water flow, it is easy to see a rainbow in Bridalveil Falls: just visit the falls a short while before sunset and watch as the colors climb up the plummeting water as the sun sinks behind you.

Bridalveil Falls with a rainbow forming in its spray, dropping 620 into Yosemite Valley, displaying peak water flow in spring months from deep snowpack and warm weather melt.  Yosemite Valley, Yosemite National Park, California

Bridalveil Falls with a rainbow forming in its spray, dropping 620 into Yosemite Valley, displaying peak water flow in spring months from deep snowpack and warm weather melt. Yosemite Valley.
Image ID: 16160
Location: Bridalveil Falls, Yosemite National Park, California, USA

Keywords: bridalveil falls, yosemite national park, photo, picture, image, waterfall, photograph.

Yosemite Falls Lunar Rainbow

Astrophotography and Night Scapes, California, Landscape, National Parks, Sierra Nevada, Yosemite

After getting word that the waterfalls in Yosemite are pouring at ginormous levels right now (due to a timely combination of last winter’s deep snowpack and recent warm weather), I blasted up to Yosemite Valley for a quickie. Indeed, all the falls were huge. As I drove into the Valley in the dark I could just see Bridalveil and Ribbon Falls going pretty good. A short while later I got a glimpse of Yosemite Falls, also raging. These were high flow levels I had seen in these falls only a few times before in my life, pretty special. I arrived just a few hours before the rising of the full moon Friday night hoping to see the famed “moonbow” of Yosemite Falls. When I got to the foot of Yosemite Falls about 10pm, I joined a small crowd of others who were also there to witness the lunar rainbow. Unfortunately, as I feared, the mist (re: rainstorm) at the foot of Yosemite Falls was so heavy there was no way to keep a camera dry; I was not about to get my gear out for a series of four-minute exposures, I take enough photos underwater as it is. There were a few guys giving it a try, so if they got anything perhaps they’ll publish their shots. Instead I spent the evening hiking around the valley, admiring the walls and falls in the moonlight from the relatively dry vantages of the meadows, a singular experience. At one point I was accompanied by a coyote hunting something (mice?) in one of meadows. We were surrounded by such quiet that I could hear his breathing and digging. It turns out that I did manage to obtain a lunar rainbow photo after all. Although I could not see it with my eyes at the time I took the photo below, the camera managed to capture the rainbow in the lower section of the falls (look hard, you’ll see it).

Upper Yosemite Falls and lunar rainbow, moonbow. A lunar rainbow (moonbow) can be seen to the left of Yosemite Falls, where the moon illuminates the spray of the falls, Yosemite National Park, California

Upper Yosemite Falls and lunar rainbow, moonbow. A lunar rainbow (moonbow) can be seen to the left of Yosemite Falls, where the moon illuminates the spray of the falls.
Image ID: 27751
Location: Yosemite Falls, Yosemite National Park, California, USA

Yosemite Falls by moonlight, reflected in a springtime pool in Cooks Meadow. A lunar rainbow (moonbow) can be seen above the lower section of Yosemite Falls.  Star trails appear in the night sky. Yosemite Valley, Yosemite National Park, California

Yosemite Falls by moonlight, reflected in a springtime pool in Cooks Meadow. A lunar rainbow (moonbow) can be seen above the lower section of Yosemite Falls. Star trails appear in the night sky. Yosemite Valley.
Image ID: 16093
Location: Yosemite Falls, Yosemite National Park, California, USA

I spent the next day on the Mist Trail. It was a spectacular day, warm and clear with lots of people enjoying the drenching spray and giddying heights of the Mist and Panorama trails alongside Vernal Falls and Nevada Falls. I got some nice snaps.

Keywords: Yosemite falls, waterfall, yosemite national park, photo, picture, image, lunar, moon, night, photograph.

Photo of Fern Springs, Yosemite National Park

California, Landscape, National Parks, Sierra Nevada, Yosemite

Fern Springs, near the entrance to Yosemite Valley, is a quietly running spring that crosses below the road and enters the Merced River. The small cascades offer a change of composition to the photographer looking for something to focus on aside from the towering granite walls and thundering waterfalls for which Yosemite is so well known.

Fern Springs, a small natural spring in Yosemite Valley near the Pohono Bridge, trickles quietly over rocks as it flows into the Merced River, Yosemite National Park, California

Fern Springs, a small natural spring in Yosemite Valley near the Pohono Bridge, trickles quietly over rocks as it flows into the Merced River.
Image ID: 12650
Location: Fern Springs, Yosemite National Park, California, USA

Fern Springs, a small natural spring in Yosemite Valley near the Pohono Bridge, trickles quietly over rocks as it flows into the Merced River. Yosemite Valley, Yosemite National Park, California

Fern Springs, a small natural spring in Yosemite Valley near the Pohono Bridge, trickles quietly over rocks as it flows into the Merced River. Yosemite Valley.
Image ID: 16084
Location: Fern Springs, Yosemite National Park, California, USA

Fern Springs, a small natural spring in Yosemite Valley near the Pohono Bridge, trickles quietly over rocks as it flows into the Merced River. Yosemite Valley, Yosemite National Park, California

Fern Springs, a small natural spring in Yosemite Valley near the Pohono Bridge, trickles quietly over rocks as it flows into the Merced River. Yosemite Valley.
Image ID: 16087
Location: Fern Springs, Yosemite National Park, California, USA

Keywords: Fern Springs, Yosemite National Park, photo, picture, image, photograph.

Photos of Bridalveil Falls, Yosemite National Park

California, National Parks, Sierra Nevada, Yosemite

Bridalveil Falls is a classic example of a “hanging valley”. Two million years ago it was a stream flowing through a canyon that intersected Yosemite Valley. Over time glaciers carved away the intersection, leaving Bridalveil’s canyon “hanging” above the valley and turning the stream into falls that plunge 620 feet (200m). Wind often blows the falls back and forth, producing a wide swath of mist that cools visitors who take the short hike to the base of the falls. Native indians referred to Bridalveil Falls as Pohono (“blowing wind”) and considered it to be a superstitious place. Bridalveil Fall, with a large absorbant watershed, flows year round. However, spring is the time to visit Yosemite National Park if you are interested in waterfalls. We make at least one visit to Yosemite Valley each spring, usually in May or early June, to see the park’s falls at their peak flow and to enjoy crisp cool mornings, verdant forests, blooming dogwood trees, a hike up the Mist Trail and Sunday brunch at the Ahwahnee. Bridalveil Falls is the first major water fall visitors see when entering Yosemite Valley, first seen we one emerges from the tunnel entrance to the west end of the valley, as it forms one side of the Gates of the Valley, then a short drive later it is observed from the floor of Yosemite Valley. Bridalveil Falls is a short, level walk from the parking lot to the base of the falls, through shady trees. When the falls are pumping the forest around the base of the falls is dripping wet and side streams form to pull the overflow from the falls down to the Merced River a few hundred yards away. In late afternoon a rainbow often forms in the spray of Bridalveil Falls, rising as the sun sinks.

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: 12646
Location: Bridalveil Falls, Yosemite National Park, California, USA

Bridalveil Falls with a rainbow forming in its spray, dropping 620 into Yosemite Valley, displaying peak water flow in spring months from deep snowpack and warm weather melt.  Yosemite Valley, Yosemite National Park, California

Bridalveil Falls with a rainbow forming in its spray, dropping 620 into Yosemite Valley, displaying peak water flow in spring months from deep snowpack and warm weather melt. Yosemite Valley.
Image ID: 16160
Location: Bridalveil Falls, Yosemite National Park, California, USA

Bridalveil Falls plummets 620 feet (200m).  Yosemite Valley, Yosemite National Park, California

Bridalveil Falls plummets 620 feet (200m). Yosemite Valley.
Image ID: 16077
Location: Bridalveil Falls, Yosemite National Park, California, USA

Bridalveil Falls plummets 620 feet (200m).  Yosemite Valley, Yosemite National Park, California

Bridalveil Falls plummets 620 feet (200m). Yosemite Valley.
Image ID: 16080
Location: Bridalveil Falls, Yosemite National Park, California, USA

See some other waterfalls in Yosemite Valley: Yosemite Falls, Vernal Falls and Horsetail Falls.

Keywords: Bridalveil Falls, waterfall, Yosemite National Park, Yosemite Valley, California, photo, picture, image, pho

Photo of Tenaya Lake, Yosemite National Park

California, Landscape, National Parks, Sierra Nevada, Yosemite

Tenaya Lake lies in the high country of Yosemite National Park, surrounded by enormous granite domes and coniferous forests.

Tenaya Lake is surrounded by epic granite domes, with Polly Dome on the left.  Late afternoon, viewed from Olmsted Point, Yosemite National Park, California

Tenaya Lake is surrounded by epic granite domes, with Polly Dome on the left. Late afternoon, viewed from Olmsted Point.
Image ID: 09955
Location: Tenaya Lake, Yosemite National Park, California, USA

Tenaya Peak rises above Tenaya Lake near Tuolumne Meadows, Yosemite National Park, California

Tenaya Peak rises above Tenaya Lake near Tuolumne Meadows.
Image ID: 09957
Location: Tenaya Lake, Yosemite National Park, California, USA

Keywords: Tenaya Lake, Tuolumne Meadows, Yosemite National Park, photo, picture, image.