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regnaD kciN

Profile Information

Gender: Male
Hometown: Maple Valley, Washington
Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 17,956

Journal Archives

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

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.

A few (?) fireworks...

It seems like one of the traditions I've had over the past seven years or so has been shooting one or another of the local fireworks displays, then rushing back to process the images through the night so that they could be posted here along with everyone else's photos from their own local displays throughout the country before morning. Well, I made the usual mad dash...but where were everybody else's? It seems we only got a couple of other members posting them this time around. Oh. well, I guess it's up to me to make up the shortage... (All these were taken, as has been the case for the past couple of years, at the Lake Wilderness celebration in Maple Valley.)















































































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