Sunday, April 23, 2017

2017 EARLY SPRING IN YOSEMITE VALLEY




2017 EARLY SPRING IN YOSEMITE VALLEY

My friend Lin and I had been asked to judge the San Joaquin Valley International Exhibition this year. The  judging took place in Madera, California on the first weekend in April.

This year I judged, with two others, the Projected Images Open (No restrictions as to subject matter)  and Projected Images – Creative which is defined as “altered reality” photography and is that the concept stimulates the mind of the viewer to interpret the message conveyed through the creative use of line, form and color, which includes computer generated/manipulated images.
 
Brittlebush Hillside

Brittlebush Color

We drove up on Friday and were treated very nicely with a casual “happy hour” for the judges and our hosts. Afterwards we all went to dinner at a very good restaurant, Ristorante Gabriela, where I enjoyed a delicious lamb dish. Our motel accommodations were taken care of by the Exhibition as well. All of Saturday and most of Sunday was devoted to the judging process.

SUNDAY, April 2nd

Sunday afternoon we were able to get away by about 3:00 p.m. We headed directly to Mariposa where I had made reservations for two nights while we visited Yosemite. 
A Distant Falls

The Merced River
We got to Yosemite in time for sunset from the Wawona Tunnel. In route we stopped briefly at the Bridalveil Falls area for a couple of photos. The falls created quite a mist so that things were wet in the parking area. 
Bridalveil Falls

The last time I was there, in October 2015, there was just a trickle coming over the Fall. The volume of water today was phenomenal.
Bridalveil Fall from Tunnel View
























We hurried onto Tunnel View to get set up for the fast approaching sunset.
 
Tunnel View


video

A Seasonal Fall from Tunnel View
Tunnel View as Sun sets
We were rewarded with a decent sunset with clouds forming over Half Dome to the East and the South ridge of Yosemite Canyon. We made it back to Mariposa by about 9:00 p.m. and dined on leftovers from Friday night's lasagna, and some shrimp which Norma had given us along with the sauce for dipping.
 
Tunnel View with Sunset Sky

MONDAY, April 3rd.

Monday morning we were off by 0600 for the Valley. It is not necessary to be there just at sunrise as the sun needs to crest the Sierras to the east before it enters the Valley. On the way into the Park we photographed several falls 
 
A Strong Flow


Creek and Falls

It is the Light

that I can not identify. They are seasonal in that they only appear after a good snowy winter, and this has been a wonderful winter in the Sierras.

Once in the  Park our first stop was at Fern Spring. As we were setting up our tripods, several Park employees stopped to fill their water bottles with “the best water” in the park. So we did the same.
Fern Spring
 I also photograph Horsetail Falls
Horsetail Fall


and Ribbon Falls.
Ribbon FAll
I got a kick out of the following signage. (I apologize for the blur but I was hand holding the camera and had the settings wrong for the lighting conditions.)


Delicate
 We spent time at various locations in the Valley and captured El Capitan,
El Capitan and River

El Capital Reflection

Yosemite Falls in its grandeur, 

video


Yosemite Falls


Yosemite Falls and Reflection
and Royal Arches and Cascade - 
Royal Arches and Cascade, North Dome, Washington Column
We avoided the Village as much as possible as this was Spring Break time and the park was quite busy. We did get into a traffic jam at one point, and I had to hunt a distance for a parking place near the approach to Yosemite Falls.
Cascade on South Wall

We finally took a break for lunch at the Ahwahnee Hotel which was a wonderful treat and break in the middle of the afternoon. After lunch we enjoyed some quiet time in the great room before heading out again.

Now it was time to head for late afternoon light on several points, one being Bridalveil Fall. 

Bridalveil Fall from across the Canyon

Bridalveil From North Side
We were a little early but enjoyed the lower light. Then we went to Valley View for it’s classic view of the Valley including El Capitan, The Merced River, and Bridalveil Fall. 
Valley View

Again we did not stick around as the cloud build up was not looking favorable for sunset, and quite frankly we were ready to call it a day. We still had an hour drive back to Mariposa to look forward to. Of course the drive took longer as we had to stop along the way for some more waterfalls. 
Large Fall along El Portal Roadway

Water Flow

TUESDAY, April 4th

Today’s focus was more on the flora in the Merced River Canyon near El Portal. The redbud tree is a member of the pea family, with pink flowers that grow from the trunk, branches, and twigs. It really is an eye catcher in the Spring. We stopped several times to photograph the tree. 



 I was also attracted to the growth of grasses, etc. on the canyon walls. 
 
Wall 1

Wall Layers

Wall Snail
Once again the various Falls we had seen but not photographed called to us. A couple of times we had to park at a turnout and walk back along the road on the outside of the retaining wall. 


El Portal Cascade

A Tight Squeeze
A Long Fall

Our last stop was on the West side of the Wawona Tunnel where you get another good view of the Valley though from afar. 

CA 140 and Falls

The Long View
A Last View, West of Tunnel
We finally departed the park around 1:30 p.m. with the intention of getting home to San Diego tonight. We left the Park via Wawona and Oakhurst.Then it was onto Fresno, and South on CA99.

The drive went smoothly as we did not get over the Grapevine until after 6 p.m. There was still heavy traffic but no real slow downs. I dropped Lin off in Fallbrook a little after 10 p.m., and got home at 11 p.m.

Would have enjoyed more time there and really enjoyed seeing all of the various waterfalls. Another month and the Valley should be leafing out with all of the various trees. I would suggest that if  you are contemplating visiting Yosemite soon, that you try to do it before Memorial Day.