Sequoia National Park

Giant Forest Museum

Sequoia National Park is a must see … and much easier to see because it is less crowded than Yosemite NP.  It’s located in the Sierra Nevada mountain range, just south of Yosemite NP, and is the second oldest park in the national park system.

A low key, but extremely informative, exhibit is the Giant Forest Museum.  This shot gives you some idea of the size of the giant sequoias.  The museum is dwarfed by the trees, but it is a good-size building.  Look closely to see the people entering.

Now the saying, “You can’t see the forest for the trees”, really makes sense to me.

Thought for the Day:  Size matters.

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Half Dome from Glacier Point

Half Dome from Glacier Point

Glacier Point, elevation 7,214′, overlooks the Yosemite Valley providing a 180 degree panoramic view of the Valley floor over 3000′ below.

In this one-shot image, the Nevada Falls flowing into Vernal Falls below are on the far right, Half Dome dominates the center, and Yosemite Falls and El Capitan are out of the frame at the left.  The Valley floor is so deep it is well out of the frame below.

Jet streams are a common sight in Yosemite NP, must be a major corridor for commercial air traffic.  Even so, I felt fortunate to get one in this frame.

Thought for the Day:  Today is your day!  Your mountain is waiting, so … get on your way!                                                                                                                                      Dr. Seuss

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Photojournalism is Dangerous!

Sarpy County Storm Damage

A severe thunderstorm blew through Sarpy County, Nebraska last Friday night. Straight-line winds of 125 mph were recorded in Papillion.  Wide spread damage was evident throughout the county: downed power lines, uprooted trees, split tree trunks, trees’ crowns snapped off, farm buildings with no roofs, etc.

This shot was taken southwest of Gretna, about 36 hours after the storm had passed, which turned out to be a potentially dangerous location.  Not from the storm, but from the distraught landowner who didn’t appreciate my trespassing.  He told me to, “Get the f#&% out of here!  Walk outta here while you still can!”

I was wrong, terribly wrong; I was trespassing, plain and simple.  I should have asked permission before stepping foot on his property.   While I meant no harm, I should have been more sensitive to the landowner’s property loss and emotional stress.  Photography can be bad for your health; don’t make the same mistake twice.

Thought for the Day:  We made too many wrong mistakes.                        Yogi Berra

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Tunnel View

Yosemite NP – Tunnel View

This is the place where Ansel Adams took his iconic shot, “Thunderstorm Over the Valley”.

Yosemite National Park calls it Tunnel View, as it sits at the entrance to a mile-long tunnel on Hwy 41 leading to Glacier Point and Wawona.  There is a nice parking lot and an expansive viewing area for the scores of photographers that gather every evening.

Tunnel View is known as the best site in the park for sunsets, with El Capitan on the left, Bridalveil Fall on the right and Half Dome in the middle background.  My experience was less dramatic than Adams’.  After the unique cloud above Half Dome vanished, the horizon was completely void of any clouds, and the darkening sky was absolutely boring.

Thought for the Day:  Landscape photography is the supreme test of a photographer — and often the supreme disappointment.                                                               Ansel Adams

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Half Dome from Sentinel Bridge

Half Dome from Sentinel Bridge

Late afternoon and early evening is prime time for photographers in Yosemite Valley, so many iconic subjects bathed in soft, warm, ever-changing light.

This shot of Half Dome was taken from Sentinel Bridge, which is a short walk from the Visitor Center.  Easy to find, just follow the people with tripods.  For the three hours, I stood as a sentry in the middle of the bridge, watching the sun slowly fade away.  There were 18 of my new best friends that stayed the course, while hundreds came and went.

The Merced River was running so high and fast (note submerged tree trunks along the bank) that the reflection is distorted.  The sky was worth the wait.

Thought for the Day:  There can be nothing in the world more beautiful than the Yosemite … and our people should see to it that they are preserved for their children and their children’s children forever, with their majestic beauty all unmarred.                                            Theodore Roosevelt

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Yosemite Falls

Yosemite Falls Reflected

Record snowpack caused unusually high water volumes and even lowland flooding.

The Merced River is a raging torrent and out of its banks in some areas of the Valley. The foreground in this shot is Cook’s Meadow, normally dry and good for morning or late afternoon walks … and photos.

The flooded meadow provided a rare reflecting pool for this shot of Upper Yosemite Falls. A bear feeding the foreground would be nice, but I’ll take my fortunate timing of this shot.

Thought for the Day:  Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.                                                     Lao Tzu

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Yosemite Valley

Yosemite Valley

The most popular part of Yosemite National Park is Yosemite Valley, where a 7-mile long road follows the Merced River and all the iconic sites can be viewed.

Looking east, this shot was taken from the far western end of the Valley near the Pohono Bridge.  Six shots were “stitched” together to make this panorama.  On the far left is Horsetail Fall, just a thin white line from this distance.  To the right of it is the imposing face of El Capitan.  On the right, below the lone cloud, are three peaks that make up the Cathedral Spires, and just below the middle peak is the top of Bridalveil Fall.  Yosemite Falls and Half Dome are at the far eastern end of the valley, not visible from here.

Truly majestic, some of God’s greatest handiwork.

Thought for the Day:  I’d rather be in the mountains thinking about God than in church thinking about the mountains.                                                                John Muir

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