“Yosemite Valley, to me, is always a sunrise, a glitter of green and golden wonder in a vast edifice of stone and space.”
― Ansel Adams
Prior to this summer, my experiences with Yosemite National Park were limited to viewing the park through Ansel Adams’ amazing images, either in books or in museums. Even after viewing these photographs by the Master, I was in no way prepared for the actual experience of viewing Tunnel View and other areas of the park for the very first time. My family and I enjoyed spending several days in Yosemite in June. The mountains in Yosemite appear so gigantic in comparison to the mountains in the Carolinas where I live. I had a difficult time taking in the enormity of the scenes before me.
After checking into our accommodations on the first day of our visit, we went out to explore during late afternoon/evening light. We stayed just outside of the park at Rush Creek Lodge. This was such an enjoyable place to stay for adults and children.
Once back in the park, we decided to take a short hike to Mirror Lake. We were not disappointed as the conditions were perfect for taking in the view in the still waters.
The first full day of our visit, we wanted to experience the iconic Tunnel View at sunrise. We arrived just before time for the sun to rise. This, however, was much too early for light to enter the valley, so we went to explore Bridalveil Falls nearby. After visiting the falls, we drove back to Tunnel View in time to watch the sun kiss the valley for the first time that morning.
After leaving the Tunnel View, we followed the light to see what we could discover. When my eyes caught this scene, we pulled over to find a spot to photograph. It took some wading through the water on painfully hard rocks to get to this location. It was worth the effort.
I couldn’t resist photographing the extremely colorful rocks that are found in the foreground of the previous scene.
My personal favorite outing was the afternoon we headed to Glacier Point for sunset. It was on this afternoon, in route to Glacier Point, that I found an area containing lupine that I had been seeking.
It was in a pull-off just before reaching Glacier Point, that I saw a view that absolutely took my breath away. While there, we saw an artist setting up for an evening of painting what he was experiencing in Yosemite. The artist was James McGrew. He was kind enough to take a bit of a break from his work to talk to me. You can see James McGrew’s stunning work here on his website or in the Ansel Adams Gallery, which is located in the park.
We were sure to go to the gallery the next morning to see James’ work there. If you go to Yosemite, don’t miss out on going to Ansel Adams’ Gallery. It was such a joy to be surrounded by Ansel Adams’ photography and other works of art that are displayed and sold there.
One of my favorite pictures from Yosemite is one of Randy taking in the magnificence that evening as we waited for sunset.
I will never forget the incredible beauty I was able to witness and photograph this summer in Yosemite.
What treasures we have in our National Parks!