Half Dome and storm clouds at sunset, viewed from Sentinel Bridge, Yosemite National Park, California

Half Dome And Storm Clouds At Sunset, Yosemite Valley.

Vernal Falls at peak flow in late spring, with a rainbow appearing in the spray of the falls, viewed from the Mist Trail, Yosemite National Park, California

Vernal Falls at peak flow in late spring, with a rainbow appearing in the spray of the falls. Yosemite National Park.

Aspen trees display Eastern Sierra fall colors, Lake Sabrina, Bishop Creek Canyon, Populus tremuloides, Bishop Creek Canyon, Sierra Nevada Mountains

Aspen Trees, Lake Sabrina, Bishop Creek Canyon, Sierra Nevada Mountains

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 From Tuolumne Meadows, Yosemite National Park

Townsley Lake (10396'), a beautiful alpine lake sitting below blue sky, clouds and Fletcher Peak (right), lies amid the Cathedral Range of glacier-sculpted granite peaks in Yosemite's high country, near Vogelsang High Sierra Camp, Yosemite National Park, California

Townsley Lake In The High Sierra, Yosemite National Park.

The Milky Way at Night over Sky Rock, panorama, spherical projection.  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

Panorama Of The Milky Way At Night Over Sky Rock Petroglyphs, Bishop

Sky Rock petroglyphs near Bishop, California, sunrise light just touching clouds and the Sierra Nevada. 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 Petroglyphs at Dawn, Volcanic Tablelands, Bishop, California.

Half Dome and sunset clouds, evening, Yosemite National Park, California

Half Dome And Sunset Clouds

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, high country near Vogelsang High Sierra Camp, Yosemite National Park.

Aspen trees cover Bishop Creek Canyon above Aspendel, Populus tremuloides, Bishop Creek Canyon, Sierra Nevada Mountains

Aspen, Bishop Creek Canyon, Sierra Nevada Mountains

Mount Whitney and Lone Pine Peak over the Alabama Hills

Mount Whitney And Lone Pine Peak Over The Alabama Hills

Mobius Arch in the Alabama Hills, seen here at night with swirling star trails formed in the sky above due to a long time exposure, Alabama Hills Recreational Area

Mobius Arch In The Alabama Hills, Alabama Hills Recreational Area

Star Trails 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

Star Trails Over Sky Rock

Milky Way over Tioga Lake, Yosemite National Park

Milky Way Over Tioga Lake

Half Dome reflected in the Merced River, Yosemite National Park, California

Half Dome Reflected In The Merced River

Mobius Arch at sunrise, with Mount Whitney (the tallest peak in the continental United States), Lone Pine Peak and snow-covered Sierra Nevada Range framed within the arch.  Mobius Arch is a 17-foot-wide natural rock arch in the scenic Alabama Hills Recreational Area near Lone Pine, California

Mobius Arch At Sunrise, Alabama Hills Recreational Area

Mono Lake sunset, tufa and clouds reflected in the still waters of Mono Lake

Tufa and clouds reflected in the still waters of Mono Lake.

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 Petroglyphs At Night

North Peak (12242'), Conness Lake and green glacial meltwater, Hoover Wilderness, Conness Lakes Basin

Conness Lake And Glacier Water, Hoover Wilderness, Conness Lakes Basin

Panorama of Bear Creek Spire over Long Lake at Sunrise, Little Lakes Valley, John Muir Wilderness, Inyo National Forest, Little Lakes Valley, Inyo National Forest

Panorama Of Bear Creek Spire Over Long Lake At Sunrise, Little Lakes Valley, Inyo National Forest

Milky Way over Tenaya Lake, Polly Dome (left), Tenaya Peak (center), Yosemite National Park

Milky Way Over Tenaya Lake, Yosemite National Park

Sun pillar rises over the Sierra Nevada and this Mono Lake sunset, Sierra Nevada mountain range and tufas, clouds reflected in the still waters of Mono Lake

Sun Pillar And Mono Lake Sunset, Panorama

Tufa and Stars at Night, Milky Way galaxy, Mono Lake, California

Mono Lake Tufa And Stars At Night

Aspen trees display Eastern Sierra fall colors, Lake Sabrina, Bishop Creek Canyon, Populus tremuloides, Bishop Creek Canyon, Sierra Nevada Mountains

Aspen Trees, Lake Sabrina, Bishop Creek Canyon, Sierra Nevada Mountains

Mount Whitney and Lone Pine Peak are framed by Lathe Arch in the Alabama Hills at sunrise, California, Alabama Hills Recreational Area

Lathe Arch, Mount Whitney And Lone Pine Peak, Alabama Hills Recreational Area

Panorama of Vogelsang basin, surrounding Vogelsang Lake in Yosemite's High Sierra, viewed from near Vogelsang Pass (10685').  Left is Vogelsang Peak (11516'), Choo-choo Ridge is in the distant middle, and the western flank of Fletcher Peak is to the right, Yosemite National Park, California

Panorama of Vogelsang basin, surrounding Vogelsang Lake in Yosemite's High Sierra, viewed from near Vogelsang Pass (10685').

Mammoth Peak over Tuolumne Meadows, Tioga Pass, Yosemite National Park

Mammoth Peak Over Tuolumne Meadows, Yosemite National Park

Yosemite Falls and star trails, night sky time exposure of Yosemite Falls waterfall in full spring flow, with star trails arcing through the night sky, Yosemite National Park, California

Star trails appear over Yosemite Falls in this 40 minute time exposure, Yosemite Valley, California.

Meadow and Sierra Nevada peak Bear Creek Spire at sunrise, Little Lakes Valley, John Muir Wilderness, Inyo National Forest, Little Lakes Valley, Inyo National Forest

Meadow And Sierra Nevada Peak Bear Creek Spire At Sunrise, Little Lakes Valley, Inyo National Forest

A giant sequoia tree, soars skyward from the forest floor, lit by the morning sun and surrounded by other sequioas.  The massive trunk characteristic of sequoia trees is apparent, as is the crown of foliage starting high above the base of the tree, Sequoiadendron giganteum, Mariposa Grove, Yosemite National Park, California

A giant sequoia tree soars skyward from the forest floor. Sequoiadendron giganteum. Mariposa Grove, Yosemite National Park.

Mammoth Peak (12,117') reflected in small tarn pond at sunrise, viewed from meadows near Tioga Pass, Yosemite National Park, California

Mammoth Peak (12,117') reflected in small tarn pond at sunrise, viewed from meadows near Tioga Pass.

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.

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

Milky Way At Night Over Sky Rock Petroglyphs, Bishop

Mammoth Peak over Tuolumne Meadows, Tioga Pass, Yosemite National Park

Mammoth Peak Over Tuolumne Meadows, Yosemite National Park

Fletcher Peak is reflected in Vogelsang Lake at sunset, viewed from near summit of Vogelsang Peak, Yosemite National Park, California

Fletcher Peak is reflected in Vogelsang Lake at sunset viewed from near summit of Vogelsang Peak.

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, Yosemite National Park, California.

Panorama of Box Lake, morning, Little Lakes Valley, John Muir Wilderness, Inyo National Forest, Little Lakes Valley, Inyo National Forest

Panorama Of Box Lake, Little Lakes Valley, Little Lakes Valley, Inyo National Forest

Devil's Postpile, a spectacular example of columnar basalt.  Once molten and under great pressure underground, the lava that makes up Devil's Postpile cooled evenly and slowly, contracting and fracturing into polygonal-sided columns.  The age of the formation is estimated between 100 and 700 thousand years old.  Sometime after the basalt columns formed, a glacier passed over the formation, cutting and polishing the tops of the columns.  The columns have from three to seven sides, varying because of differences in how quickly portions of the lava cooled, Devils Postpile National Monument, California

Devil's Postpile, Devils Postpile National Monument

Mammoth Peak over Tuolumne Meadows, Tioga Pass, Yosemite National Park

Mammoth Peak Over Tuolumne Meadows, Yosemite National Park

View from Summit of Mount Hoffmann, Ten Lakes Basin at lower left, looking northeast toward remote northern reaches of Yosemite National Park, panorama

Mount Hoffmann Summit View, Yosemite National Park

Nameless Lake (10709'), surrounded by glacier-sculpted granite peaks of the Cathedral Range, near Vogelsang High Sierra Camp, Yosemite National Park, California

Nameless Lake (10709') surrounded by glacier-sculpted granite peaks of the Cathedral Range, Yosemite National Park, California.

Sage brush and aspen trees, autumn, in the shade of Bishop Creek Canyon in the Sierra Nevada, Populus tremuloides, Bishop Creek Canyon Sierra Nevada Mountains

Sage Brush And Aspen Trees, Bishop Creek Canyon Sierra Nevada Mountains

Sierra Nevada mountains and aspen trees, fall colors reflected in the still waters of North Lake, Populus tremuloides, Bishop Creek Canyon Sierra Nevada Mountains

Sierra Nevada Mountains And Aspen Trees, Bishop Creek Canyon Sierra Nevada Mountains

Mt. Whitney is the highest point in the contiguous United States with an elevation of 14,505 feet (4,421 m).  It lies along the crest of the Sierra Nevada mountain range.  Composed of the Sierra Nevada batholith granite formation, its eastern side (seen here) is quite steep.  It is climbed by hundreds of hikers each year

Mount Whitney, this highest point in the contiguous United States (14,505').

Convict Lake sunrise reflection, Sierra Nevada mountains

Convict Lake Sunrise Reflection

First View of Conness Lakes Basin with Mount Conness (12589' center) and North Peak (12242', right), Hoover Wilderness

First View Of Conness Lakes Basin, Hoover Wilderness

Mount Conness (12589') and Upper Conness Lake, Twenty Lakes Basin, Hoover Wilderness, Conness Lakes Basin

Upper Conness Lake, Hoover Wilderness, Conness Lakes Basin

Aspen trees and Sierra Nevada peak, autumn, Populus tremuloides, Bishop Creek Canyon Sierra Nevada Mountains

Aspen Trees And Sierra Nevada Peak, Bishop Creek Canyon Sierra Nevada Mountains

Mammoth Peak (12,117') reflected in small tarn pond at sunrise, viewed from meadows near Tioga Pass, Yosemite National Park, California

Mammoth Peak, stones, pond and meadow, Tuolumne Meadows.

Hanging Basket Lake (10601'), with Fletcher Peak (11410') rising above on the right, panoramic view, Yosemite National Park, California

Hanging Basket Lake (10601'), with Fletcher Peak (11410') rising above on the right, panoramic view.

Tenaya Lake in Yosemite National Park's high country, with Pywiack Dome, Medlicott Dome and Mount Conness in the distance

Tenaya Lake In Yosemite National Park's High Country

Dana Fork of the Tuolumne River, near Tioga Pass, Yosemite National Park, California

Dana Fork Of The Tuolumne River, Yosemite National Park

Tufa towers rise from Mono Lake, with the Eastern Sierra visible in the distance. Tufa towers are formed when underwater springs rich in calcium mix with lakewater rich in carbonates, forming calcium carbonate (limestone) structures below the surface of the lake. The towers were eventually revealed when the water level in the lake was lowered starting in 1941

Tufa Towers Rise From Mono Lake

Tufa towers rise from Mono Lake.  Tufa towers are formed when underwater springs rich in calcium mix with lakewater rich in carbonates, forming calcium carbonate (limestone) structures below the surface of the lake.  The towers were eventually revealed when the water level in the lake was lowered starting in 1941.  South tufa grove, Navy Beach

Mono Lake And Tufa Towers

Trees cling to the granite surroundings of Olmsted Point, Yosemite National Park, California

Jeffrey Pine, Olmsted Point, Yosemite National Park