I spent a couple days in Yosemite earlier this month on assignment. I had a number of things I wanted to do, some of which I’ll post about later. As a teaser, one of my objectives was to capture some photos of the night sky. As you can see from the Feature Image, i was at least partially successful. That is the bulk of the Milky Way setting and shot from Olmsted Point just prior to 1 AM on the morning of July 8. I captured over 50 images that I’m keeping. However, this one is my favorite.
I was gratified and surprised to learn that Lee Stetson, Mr John Muir for the contemporary set, was at the Yosemite Theater Thursday night. He’s been “doing” John Muir for about 35 years now and has appeared in many of the special videos available on DVD at the various stores in the park. This show was abou his work with Glaciers and
traipsing up Mt. Shasta and the Earthquake of 1872 (among other things). It was delightful. I recently did a post about John Muir and in conclusion I said that I wish I could have met him. Well, now I feel like I have. Lee got the speech mannerisms and personality that I have leaned about Muir from my readings. An excellent performance.
I loved getting back to the park again. The skies were crystalline clear and so devoid of haze that the sky was such a dark purple. I was surprised I couldn’t see stars in the day time. Here is a sample from near Olmsted Point (near the 8000 foot level). To be fair, this was taken with a polarizing lens, but still, it was pretty, shockingly dark.
Also, speaking of clear skies, I got a nice shot of Half Dome from Olmsted Point. It has been washed out in haze the last couple times I was there.
In the valley, I also revisited some old friends. I caught Half Dome through a tree.
Also, the Valley View scene is showing a lot of logs. I only remember one the last time I was there, but there must have been three or four this time. And I found tufts of grass and some boulders.
On my way out of the park, I took a moment to grab a picture of Cathedral Peaks. This is still a wish list hike for me (I posted about it a while back). I almost did it this time. I figured I could take a leisurely hike up to the lakes and wait for dusk to get my photos and hike back down. Sure, it’ll be dark by the time I get back, but I’ve got a flash light and now that I have some success with night sky photos, I have that to fall back on. Nevertheless, for reasons unrelated to my fear of being eaten by a bear, I left early.
I also got a nice, serenity-filled shot of a stream in the back country.
I have to say this was a very pleasant stay. As usual, I never really have much notice when I’ll be heading to the park, so putting in reservations 7 or 8 months in advance is not really an option. So I have to go for “First come, First Served” camp sites.
I left home about 3:30 AM and arrived in the park at 10:30 AM Thursday and found there were spaces still available at Tuolumne Meadows camp ground. I was hoping to get anything other than Yosemite Creek (though I would have taken that). Maybe Porcupine Flat or Tamarack Flat; anything that was comparatively close to the road. But, surprise of surprises, Tuolumne meadows had a number of openings. The Ranger said that I arrived a the perfect time to find space. Space was also available for Yosemite Creek and Bridalveil Creek, but no where else. You just never know. Last time, I got there at 1:30 PM and found space available at Yosemite Creek. But after I set up camp, I headed out to the Valley and notice that Yosemite Creek AND Bridalveil had filled up by noon and remained full all day Friday. The point is, if you want first come first serve at Yosemite, you really need to have a Plan B.