Posts tagged “Yosemite

Discover your Voice

The power to discover our Voice lies in the potential that was given to us at Birth. We were given magnificent gifts – talents, capabilities, privileges, intelligences and insights that often remain unopened except through our own decision and efforts to do so. Because of these gifts, the potential within each of us is tremendous, if not infinite! Marianne Williamsom wrote:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond all measure. It is our light and not our darkness, that most frightens us.  We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? Playing small does not serve the world. We were all meant to shine, as children do. As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we’re liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others!”

This is a picture of Bridalveil Falls in Yosemite National Park (USA) taken during the Spring runoff when waterfalls are the most spectacular. Many shied away from this location as the mist from the falls was so intense, it meant an immediate soaking from head to toe even 50 feet away. At the base of the falls, we composed the image and adjusted exposure, turned our backs to dry the equipment and then quickly spun around to get the shot. It was exhilerating…and fun watching the expressions of people as these two soaked photographers merrily returned from where others dared not go.

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El Cap

Climb Me - I dare you!

This was shot from the Yosemite Valley up at the famous El Capitan. We saw a bunch of brave (or crazy) climbers making the ascent, often taking 2-3 days, scaling the sheer face, sleeping while suspended. I finally found something that my Wife would NOT do, although she is more than willing to jump out of a perfectly functional airplane!

El Capitan is a 3,000-foot (910 m) vertical  rock formation  located on the north side of  Yosemite Valley, near its western end. The granite monolith is one of the world’s favorite challenges for rock climbers. A previous post shows its relationship to the Valley (The Tunnel View).

The formation was named “El Capitan” by the Mariposa Battalion when it explored the valley in 1851. El Capitán (“the captain”, “the chief”) was taken to be a loose Spanish translation of the local Native American name for the cliff, variously transcribed as “To-to-kon oo-lah” or “To-tock-ah-noo-lah”. It is unclear if the Native American name referred to a specific Tribal Chief, or simply meant “the chief” or “rock chief”. In modern times, the formation’s name is often contracted to “El Cap”, especially among rock climbers.


Photographer about to get Wet

This is the violent spring run off from the seasonal Mirror Lake in Yosemite National Park in California. We had to do a bit of scrambling along slippery rocks to get close to the icy water. Falling in would have been a problem due to the volume of water.

Mirror Lake has little water much of the year, but in spring and early summer it can grow in size. When water is calm, the lake offers beautiful reflections of surrounding cliffs. Exhibits detail the story of the area’s lake-to-meadow succession. This can be a good place to spot wildlife. See a previous post of this tranquil lake compared to its violent creek.


The Fallen Monarch

This was taken in The Mariposa Grove, home to the, Sequoiadendron giganteum. The oldest Giant Sequoia may exceed 3,000 years and top out at a height of around 290ft. It is truly difficult to capture the majesty of these beautiful trees!

Into the grove on the main trail is the Fallen Monarch. Perhaps you’ve seen this tree before—in the famous 1899 photograph of U. S Cavalry officers on their horses up on top!

Tannic acid in the wood suppresses the initial growth of fungi and bacteria, essentially arresting decay. Only when rain and melting snow have leached the tannin from the wood can decay begin. Biologists suspect that this tree had been down several hundred years before the Cavalry photograph was taken!

Notice the roots of this tree. Sequoia’s don’t have deep tap roots; instead, the roots spread out near the surface to capture water. While the roots are usually no deeper than six feet (2 meters), they fan out more than 150 feet (45 meters), providing a stable base to balance the massive trunk.

Bridalveil Falls Bridge #3

Bridalveil Fall Bridge

This is a shot of Bridalveil Falls Bridge No. 3, Spanning Bridalveil Creek on carriage road, Yosemite Village, Mariposa, CA. This is several hundred meters downstream from the base of the Falls. This was taken first thing in the morning – we had at this time decided to return to the Falls later in the afternoon to take advantage of the setting sun on the thundering waters. Even at this distance, you will likely be quite well “misted” and getting to the Falls viewing platform will leave you soaked…bring a few dry lens cloths if you plan on taking some pictures.

There are three Bridalveil Falls bridges. They represent the only surviving road bridges in the park dating to the administration by the U.S. Cavalry from 1890-1914.  They also represent the first use of reinforced concrete in bridge construction in the park.

Mirror Lake

Mirror Lake

This was taken after a short hike up the Tenaya Creek to an elevation 4094ft.  May is the perfect time to visit Yosemite. The Spring runoff produces spectacular waterfalls, very few bugs and just before the start of the tourist season.

Mirror Lake is a small, seasonal lake located on Tenaya Creek in Yosemite National Park. Situated in Tenaya Canyon directly between North Dome and Half Dome, it is the last remnant of a large glacial lake that once filled most of Yosemite Valley at the end of the last Ice Age, and is close to disappearing due to sediment accumulation.

Another Look

The Tunnel View


We had a look at this vista early in the morning and decided to return later during the day to allow the sun to paint the west-facing slopes. This is a view of the Yosemite Valley, showing El Capitan and The Bridalveil Falls.

The Tunnel View overlook has been renovated—the first changes to this area since constructed in 1933. The Tunnel View scenic overlook is a historic site, located adjacent to Wawona Road, affording expansive views of Yosemite Valley, El Capitan, Bridalveil Falls, and Half Dome. The overlook was constructed during an era that heralded a boom in design and development throughout the National Park Service, and helped initiate the National Park Service “rustic design style.” Wawona Tunnel and Tunnel View were determined eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places in 1986 because of their exemplary design.

Bridalveil Falls

Spirit of the Puffing Wind

This was a tricky shot to take. In the late afternoon the breeze was blowing the mist from the falls so hard that approaching this shot was like walking through a monsoon. Keeping the lens dry was the secret and also looking for the angle to catch the rainbow. The optical properties of air and pure water (like rain) are well understood, and raindrops are nearly always spherical in shape. With a little math (okay, I won’t cover it here), it can be shown that the angle between incoming white sunlight and the outgoing rainbow colors is about 42 degrees. To be more precise, the red light comes out at 42 degrees and blue light comes out at 40 degrees. This is true anywhere the sunlight hits raindrops, not just where we see the colorful arc.

The Ahwahneechee tribe believed that Bridalveil Fall was home to a vengeful spirit named Pohono which guarded the entrance to the valley, and that those leaving the valley must not look directly into the waterfall lest they be cursed. They also believed that inhaling the mist of Bridalveil Fall would improve one’s chances of marriage.

Bridalveil Fall is 188 metres (617 ft) and flows year round. The glaciers that carved Yosemite Valley left many  hanging valleys which spawned the waterfalls that pour into the valley. All of the waterways that fed these falls carved the hanging valleys into steep cascades with the exception of Bridalveil Fall. Bridalveil still leaps into the valley from the edge of the precipice, although that edge has moved back into an alcove from the original edge of the valley.

When the wind blows briskly, the waterfall will appear to be falling sideways. During lesser water flow, the falls often don’t reach the ground. Because of this, the Ahwahneechee called this waterfall Pohono, which means Spirit of the Puffing Wind.