Photographing Yosemite is like performing classical music; it is both timeless and beautiful. The huge granite rocks rise like crescendos in a masterpiece crafted by nature. It is truly a humbling, incredible place.
My draw to Yosemite stems from my love of Ansel Adams and his images (if you're not sure who he is, you should definitely check him out!). As one of my favorite photographers, Ansel like me was first a musician before he became interested in taking photographs. His love for nature and adventure ultimately won over and he dedicated his life to capturing the beauty that surrounds us.
After traveling for 10 hours from New York to California (including the drive into the mountains), we woke up the next day at 5:00AM and drove the winding, mountain roads to Yosemite Valley. We got there just in time for some beautiful sunrise light.
The waterfalls were flowing because of the recent rain - generally speaking, the waterfalls dry up in in Autumn and don’t start flowing again until Spring. Speaking to a few local photographers, I was told it was rare to get the fall color and the waterfalls flowing - we got very lucky!
We spent the full day exploring, finishing off the night for a sunset at glacier point. Although it was cloudy later in the day, for an extremely brief period of time (literally 10 seconds) the clouds opened up and golden light shined down on Half Dome. It was unexpected and beautiful.
Later on in the trip we decided to make the three hour drive through Yosemite and into the desert. All I can say is WOW - the Sierra is incredible! We drove along winding mountain roads (with no cell service the entire time) for 100 miles, taking in the beauty and occasionally stopping to take photographs. We made it out of the mountains just in time for sunset at Mono Lake.
While making the drive back at night, we briefly stopped to look up at the sky - in the middle of the Sierra, the center of the Milky Way was visible to the naked eye! It was freezing, but we braved the cold to take some photos.
On the last day, we woke up early to hike up to Taft Point, an incredible view of the entire valley from a steep, 1,000 foot drop.
Visiting a place like Yosemite reinforces the feeling that you are part of something so much bigger than yourself. Nature's beauty is unmatched; there is so much inspiration out there when you spent a moment to take in the beauty of the world around us.