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Tue Jul 10, 2012, 04:50 AM

Paradise Regained (includes Water Falling Over Things 2012: Part II)

Last edited Tue Jul 10, 2012, 03:04 PM - Edit history (1)

Forty-nine years.

It was Easter vacation of 1963 when my family and I made what we assumed would be merely another in a long line of annual trips to Yosemite National Park, in a tradition started the year before. Even at age 6, I could tell that Yosemite was an incredibly special and beautiful place, and felt an almost spiritual connection to it. (The night before we left for our home in Los Angeles, I got to see snow for the first time in my life.) Needless to say, at that age, I didn't take any photographs; my camera at the time was a Kodak Brownie loaded with Verichrome Pan, and I left it home both times I visited. In any event, there was really no need to rush things; for surely we'd be back again and again for years to come.

The next January, my father's employer transferred us to Europe. When that stint was over, we were sent to the East Coast, where we settled for the rest of my youth. Any trips out west were restricted to visiting family and friends in L.A.

Even when I became an adult, and lived in Southern California and then the Pacific Northwest for decades, I never returned to Yosemite. Why? Mainly because, due to work, school, and family responsibilities, the only time I could get away for enough time would have been in late summer, just at the time when the Park is at its hottest, driest, most-crowded, and least-photogenic. Besides, even though I would wish every year that I could return, I figured I still had lots of time to make it back there...didn't I?

Well, over the past year, as I find myself more and more on "the back side of the hill," circumstances caused me to begin to realize that "lots of time" is not something anyone can count on. (No, I don't have any terminal illness or anything dramatic like that; just the realization that, as every year passes, I have a little less time to accomplish whatever I might want to do.) And so it was that, this year, I decided I had to make the time to return to Yosemite, rather than assuming that the time was going to be granted me sometime down the road.

And so, in the late afternoon of June 22, a little more than forty-nine years and two months after I last passed through the entrance gates, I found myself driving into Yosemite Valley...and, instantly, finding myself "at home" once again...this time, with my camera.

The iconic Wawona Tunnel View, usually a late-afternoon shot, but this time seen through dramatic skies at sunrise.




El Capitan from Cathedral Beach.




Cathedral Rocks




Early-morning view from Swinging Bridge.




A bit later in the day, Upper Yosemite Falls from the same location.




Gates of the Valley -- I couldn't decide if a horizontal or vertical view was better.







Back to Tunnel View -- this time, with a rainbow on Bridalveil Falls. (I understand this is a fairly-common occurrence; which makes it surprising for me that I've seen practically no other images showing the rainbow from this vantage point.)




In fact, the phenomenon was quite common; here's a rainbow visible from Gates of the Valley.




From the base of Bridalveil, you even get a double rainbow.







Some views of Bridalveil Creek beneath the falls.







Upper Yosemite Falls from Cook's Meadow.




Lower Yosemite Falls.




Sunset light on Half Dome from Sentinel Bridge.




Giant Sequoias at the Mariposa Grove (shot under light that was precisely wrong for the subject, but the A77 managed to capture a contrasty scene without my needing to resort to HDR).










"Shadow of a Giant" -- the Grizzly Giant, supposedly the largest tree on earth.




A panorama from Glacier Point. (After looking up at Half Dome for several days, it was a bit of a shock to be looking down at it for once.)




This view shows the two other main waterfalls of Yosemite Valley, Nevada Falls (the large waterfall to the right of Half Dome) and Vernal Falls (the smaller, partially-shaded fall just below and to the left of Nevada), the trail to which I had neither the time nor the stamina to hike.




Later in the afternoon, the same view bathed in the setting sun.




Fearless squirrel flopped at my feet on the terrace at Curry Village.




Half Dome from the opposite vantage point, Olmsted Point on the high-country Tioga Road.




Tenaya Lake.













Tuolumne Meadows.







Tuolumne River.




Another sunset on Half Dome, this time taken from River Bend behind Yosemite Lodge.




Looking up from near the base of El Capitan.




The upper and lower levels of Yosemite Falls (there is a Middle Cascades between the Upper and Lower Falls, but it's hard to find a vantage point that captures all three in good light).




One last visit to Lower Yosemite Falls.




The Merced River.




Last night sunset on Half Dome, seen from Curry Village.




And the series ends where it began, at Wawona Tunnel View, this time under night skies just before we left the Park for the last time (this visit). If you look closely enough, you'll see a couple of tiny points of light on El Capitan -- those are rock climbers on the multi-day climb of the cliff, bivouacked in sleeping bags hung from the rock face.




I have decided (and all of you here in the DU Photo Group are witnesses of this) that, when it's finally my turn to leave this earth, I want my ashes scattered somewhere in Yosemite Valley. I want my final earthly resting place to be surrounded by all this beauty -- and if, following my passing, my spirit finds itself in a place as wonderful as Yosemite, I'll consider myself truly blessed.

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Arrow 19 replies Author Time Post
Reply Paradise Regained (includes Water Falling Over Things 2012: Part II) (Original post)
regnaD kciN Jul 2012 OP
Scuba Jul 2012 #1
Adsos Letter Jul 2012 #2
handmade34 Jul 2012 #3
dixiegrrrrl Jul 2012 #4
Melissa G Jul 2012 #5
flights of freedom Jul 2012 #6
CaliforniaPeggy Jul 2012 #10
flights of freedom Jul 2012 #11
emmadoggy Jul 2012 #7
Celebration Jul 2012 #8
Cracklin Charlie Jul 2012 #9
flights of freedom Jul 2012 #12
Rhiannon12866 Jul 2012 #14
flights of freedom Jul 2012 #19
Rhiannon12866 Jul 2012 #13
Callmecrazy Jul 2012 #15
66 dmhlt Jul 2012 #16
Speck Tater Jul 2012 #17
colorado_ufo Jul 2012 #18

Response to regnaD kciN (Original post)

Tue Jul 10, 2012, 07:00 AM

1. Thanks Nick, these are awesome!

Everyone knew her as Nancy.

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Response to regnaD kciN (Original post)

Tue Jul 10, 2012, 08:23 AM

2. That squirrel flopped down there because it new a true photographer when it saw one.

These photos are incredible. What absolute works of art. Thankyou for taking me back in memory to the many backpack trips I did in Yosemite as a youth.

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Response to regnaD kciN (Original post)

Tue Jul 10, 2012, 09:19 AM

3. you did good!

very nice and such memories... I was there last fall when a forest fire created a heavy haze over Half-Dome...

my kids and I are talking about doing the John Muir Trail next summer... pretty excited about the possibility

Many thanks for super photos!




the hike up Vernal Falls was awesome

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Response to regnaD kciN (Original post)

Tue Jul 10, 2012, 12:28 PM

4. Thank you for those gorgeous pics.

It has been decades since I was at Yosemite, this was a wonderful way to re-visit my memories.
I am so glad to knew to take the time while you could.

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Response to regnaD kciN (Original post)

Tue Jul 10, 2012, 12:37 PM

5. Rec#5. Thank You!

These are amazing pics which brightened my day and made me think I need a lot more vacation time.

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Response to regnaD kciN (Original post)

Tue Jul 10, 2012, 01:47 PM

6. Wow! Your photos are awesome!

My husband and I will be in Yosemite for the first time later this month. Reports of overcrowding during the summer months had discouraged us somewhat, but seeing your magnificent photos has completely restored our enthusiasm. You have truly captured the glory of Yosemite! Your photos are among the best I have seen on the web, and we are now so excited to capture many memories of our own. You have obviously honed your picture taking skills since childhood and having a camera definitely helps! Thank you for sharing your adventure!

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Response to flights of freedom (Reply #6)

Tue Jul 10, 2012, 04:10 PM

10. Welcome to DU, flights of freedom!

I'm glad you found us!

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Response to CaliforniaPeggy (Reply #10)

Tue Jul 10, 2012, 05:28 PM

11. Thank you for the welcome!

Thank you for the welcome! If you have any suggestions for must-sees in California, or other advice where Yosemite is concerned,please let me know. We are in the central area of California right now, close to San Fran, and have seen Monterey, Carmel, Big Sur,Napa and Sonoma, Sausalito, Tiburon,, and other charming towns close to Moraga and Lafayette. Is a trip to The Wawona and its environs at Yosemite a must-see in your estimation? If you are a CA native, you are very lucky indeed; it is just gorgeous!

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Response to regnaD kciN (Original post)

Tue Jul 10, 2012, 02:00 PM

7. Your photos are incredible!

Some of them don't even look real! I wish I knew how to get photos like that.

Beautiful. I'm so glad you were able to finally make the return trip.

Thanks for sharing your photos with us.


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Response to regnaD kciN (Original post)

Tue Jul 10, 2012, 02:49 PM

8. you outdid even yourself on these

And you are reminding me I need to get back to Yellowstone, to Rocky Mountain National Park, etc.

Oh, yeah, Nature outdid herself with these, too.

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Response to regnaD kciN (Original post)

Tue Jul 10, 2012, 03:48 PM

9. I want to go to there!

These pictures are beautiful! Thank you for sharing.

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Response to regnaD kciN (Original post)

Tue Jul 10, 2012, 08:02 PM

12. Absolutely Captivating!

I had responded to you earlier in the day after viewing your majestic photos. May I ask what model camera you used? The color and clarity are fabulous! Thanks once again for sharing your experiences!

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Response to flights of freedom (Reply #12)

Wed Jul 11, 2012, 01:19 AM

14. Welcome to DU, flights of freedom!

We're so glad to have you with us!

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Response to Rhiannon12866 (Reply #14)

Wed Jul 11, 2012, 12:48 PM

19. Thank you!

Thank you for your welcome note. This site has already proven to be quite interesting!

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Response to regnaD kciN (Original post)

Wed Jul 11, 2012, 01:15 AM

13. Wow! K&R! Incredible photos!

And a wonderful story, made it all the more special.

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Response to regnaD kciN (Original post)

Wed Jul 11, 2012, 07:30 AM

15. Great pics

We need more senseless beauty in this world.

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Response to regnaD kciN (Original post)

Wed Jul 11, 2012, 08:24 AM

16. I'm not sure I've ever seen photos with colors THIS vibrant! Thanks!

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Response to regnaD kciN (Original post)

Wed Jul 11, 2012, 11:12 AM

17. The colors remind me of Kodachrome film.

 

I assume they are digital, but they sure have that classic Kodachrome look. (Even though I used to prefer Ektachrome back in the day.)

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Response to regnaD kciN (Original post)

Wed Jul 11, 2012, 11:14 AM

18. Thank you!

I may never get to go, but thanks to your pictures and kindness, I feel as if I have been there.

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