The snow continued to fall and the visibility worsened as we hiked out of the valley, making it harder to convince the first timers hiking with me that this was a worthwhile adventure. But, in the spirit of adventure, we pressed on and were rewarded as we climbed higher, with the clouds finally parting and treating us to an afternoon treat of fascinating light and cloud cover making its way through Yosemite valley.
This time last week at one of my favorite spots in the Yosemite Valley, a true winter wonderland in March. It’s crazy that just about all of this snow is melted now. And to think I almost didn’t make it up there last weekend...so glad I did though for pretty much the only real snowfall this season, in March nonetheless. Better late than never, I suppose!
Yosemite Falls tumbling down into a bowl of mystery, as the clouds linger at the base of the falls. Loved the mystery of this scene, synonymous with my weekend spent diving head first into the unknown.
Snuck up to Yosemite this weekend to enjoy the first real snow fall of the season, and it did not disappoint. Despite much more challenging hiking conditions than anticipated, I was still able to grab a few cool perspectives of the storms clearing out of the valley. With Half Dome socked in all day Saturday, it made the most sense to try and shoot back into the valley, so up we went through the clouds and into the snowfall until we stumbled upon this view.
The fun thing about solo adventures is the freedom to find new scenes. After a long and cold day in Yosemite last winter, I ditched the bus and decided to walk from happy isles back to my car parked close to the convenience store, a long walk that most would bypass as the temps hover around freezing. Along the way, I caught this scene in the meadows near curry village, but the real beauty was what I witnessed off camera. The park was empty this cold winter day and while I was here alone enjoying this, a family of 4 pulled up. They weren’t in a fancy car, dressed in the nicest winter gear or anything like that; the dad began cooking them ramen noodles with a little backpacking stove in the bed of the pickup, while the kids ran around in the snow with their mom, all-the-while wearing the biggest smiles on their faces without a care in the world. The beauty of this was how little all of the material possessions mattered at this point, especially given how brutally cold it was outside, and how much more the experience of just being there together as a family was to them. I offered to take some pictures of them before moving on. It was truly one of the most positive experiences I’ve ever had in the National parks and is one I will never forget.
Early morning reflections in Yosemite Valley, taken this past February while making a trip up to shoot the Fire Fall. Despite the lack of snow, I’m pretty stoked to be heading back in a couple weeks to show some first timers around!
A little luck can go a long way.
As a photographer, one of the hardest things for me to plan is a second visit to somewhere. Do you want to shoot new spots? Do you want to revisit the older spots that you didn’t quite get the “shot” at on your last visit? This trip to Glacier was just like that. We left Utah at 7:00am and rolled into Glacier just before sunset, and a mad dash was on to attempt to make it to Hidden Lake, a place I shot on my first trip to no success. Halfway up the going-to-the-sun road it became apparent the drive was much longer than I remembered, and when you factored in the time we’d have to hike, this mission had failure written all over it. So I cut my losses and shot sunset from one of the many pull outs that line the going-to-the-sun road. While there, in between kicking myself for not making it to Hidden Lake and wondering if I should try for another spot, the sky exploded in color directly in front of me while the rest of the park continued on. It’s moments like these that remind me that sometimes it’s all about being in the right place at the right time.
Watching storms clear in Yosemite Valley is an experience unlike any other. Standing at Tunnel View gives you a front row seat to this spectacle, with clouds snaking their way right past you, winding down the Valley almost as if they’re following the direction of the Merced River and ending at Half Dome, but not before greeting all of the towering granite walls along the way.
Sunrise from along the seldom visited North Rim of the Grand Canyon. I often get asked which is better, the south or the north rim, and truth be told, there’s no easy answer. The more secluded north rim is nothing like the south - the vistas aren’t as easily accessible, with some of the better ones even requiring you to travel along poorly maintained dirt roads. But, if you’re looking for a unique perspective in a tranquil setting, then the North Dome is for you.
Don’t be fooled by the tranquil appearance of this image. The logging machines that surround Mt. Hood were up and running by the crack of dawn. Hearing the sounds of trees being torn down and hauled away was a disturbingly stark contrast to the tranquility present at the lake.
Sleep walking along the trail on an early morning hike to the Nublet to catch sunrise, this reflection caught my attention out of the corner of my eye. Pressed for time, I was torn between shooting this scene or continuing on with my group. Never one to pass up an opportunity, I quickly framed this and was back on the trail within 5 minutes. 30 minutes later, I closed in on my group as they made the final push up the Nublet, then proceeded to watch one of the most memorable sunrises to date. Gotta love when things work out like that. 💪💪
Being able to live in the moment is a necessary skill for any landscape photographer. Last year, I took full advantage of the winter we were gifted with. Naively thinking it would be a yearly occurrence, I got all new winter gear in preparation for going even harder this year. But, Mother Nature had different plans for California this season and most of that gear has sat collecting dust. And while I could travel to places where winter has a full grasp over, it’s just not practicable at the moment.