Upon leaving Mono Lake we made a bee-line to Yosemite National Park, the grand jewel of the National Park Service. I might not have thought of that before visiting, but I truly believe it now.
Yosemite is hands down on my top 5 places on earth. McNeil River Sanctuary would certainly rank up there as well. As for the rest, the list is still being formed.
So the bee-line in winter from Mono Lake to Yosemite consists of a 301 mile, 6 hour drive to end up only about 40 miles away by the way the bird flies.
See most of the roads that get you over the High Sierras in the vicinity are closed for the winter, and for good reason. Many of the areas had 5 to 10 feet of snow. The road we took back over (Hwy 88) was a 2-lane road most of the way the wound up and down the side of a mountain.
While it wasn’t snowing in the valley, it was snowing like crazy over the pass and there were points where you could look down to the right a few hundred feet straight down, and at a wall of snow, 10-15 feet straight up to the left. Never mind the avalanche signs all over the place.
Bar none, one of the funnest rides I’ve taken in a while. Course the wife was in need of some Valium I think, but otherwise, top notch. The one exception would be having to lay in the slush and snow along the side of the road in order to put the snow tire-chains on. I’ve had more joyous events in my life, but still well worth it.
Anyway, it took the better part of all our remaining sunlight to get to the park. Just as well, it was a raining in the valley and pretty nasty overall.
I realize that bad weather can add some character and drama to the photographs, but sometimes is can add some flat colorless sky.
We were worried our luck had run out. According to the forecast that someone at the park had posted, it said the next day was 60% chance of rain. Oooof. Not looking good for the home team.
To our surprise however, we were greeted by a clear blue sky and a balmy 35 degree temperature. An amazing day to explore Yosemite. A real low fog had set in and pretty much hung around all day. It added some nice drama to the landscape, just had to balance the loss of contrast it presented as well.
I ended up with close to a thousand pics to sort through for the full 2 days of shooting, pretty much day and night. So we’ll have a few blog posts about Yosemite in the next couple weeks.
Here’s the first. This shot was taken from the vantage called Gates of the Valley or Valley View. El Capitan is to the left and Cathedral Rocks is to the right. The Merced River runs through the foreground.
This shot was taken late morning with the sun set low in the sky this time of year.
This is one of the more iconic vantage points within Yosemite. This is one of mine. I hope you enjoy.
- Canon 5d Mk II, ISO 200, Canon 16-35L MkII @ 23 mm, f8, 1/125 sec., CPL filter