A last minute decision (and the okay from Breea) resulted in a grand couple of hours at the coast near the Shrine of St. Therese. A bounty of humpbacks was the unexpected highlight, and the sky produced a spectacular variety of clouds and colors. There were whales feeding just off shore, and it was just possible to make out the “bubble netting” of a pod across the water by Shelter Island. My inspiration for heading out in the first place was clouds that reminded me of the William Neil photo at the bottom of this journal post by Guy Tal. The composition of “Shrine Clouds” is modeled after these photos by Patrick Endres that I recently viewed.
It seems that almost anywhere I turn there’s an expectation that I be taking more photographs of my lovely daughter. I couldn’t begin to argue, but for some reason, it has always been challenging for me to keep up in that regard. My new plan (at least for the summer months) is to combine my daughter photography time with nature photography time by getting the whole family outside in photogenic locations, attire, and light. The most recent escapade was spurred by the fact that some of our extended family would be picnicking on Mt. Roberts after a tram ride. I convinced Breea and Della to hike up instead, but Della really didn’t take much convincing. From the moment she got her feet on the trail, she was dedicated to achieving her ascent with as little assistance as possible, despite the fact that half the steps built into the trail came up past her waist. Occasionally that fierce independence can really make a dad proud.
I’m a long way from feeling comfortable with this genre of photography. My percentage of “successful” images from any trip is way down compared to what I would expect from a landscape focused outing, but I don’t regret a single moment of the pursuit.
A few hours after my return to Phoenix from Yosemite, I was back on the road heading toward Sedona. I “let” my brother (Kirk) drive, and we were at our destination in relatively short order. Our hike was short enough that we had to find various ways of amusing ourselves while I waited for the sun to sink in the clear blue sky. Without a doubt, the highlight of the trip for me was the flowering agave plants, but it wasn’t so simple to orchestrate a photograph. I would have like to photograph the flowers (on stalks reaching up over ten feet) from a ledge that gained me an eye-level view, but I was also certain that they needed to be isolated against a clear background for the image to be successful. Just as I found the best compromise in vantage point, a hummingbird flew in to inspect the blossoms. In the few frames I recorded before he left, there was only one in which he wasn’t a complete blur (sharpness is quite good in the head/eye/beak in this image). Hustling back to the car and topping off the night with a fabulous dinner at Ken’s Creekside Restaurant, it was a highly satisfying trip even without an overload of imagery.
This is the first special print offer organized through the ToKnowMore Journal and the TKM Facebook site, and it recognizes the majestic nature of Yosemite National Park in California. There are three ways to become eligible for the special offer (any one of the three): if you are a Facebook user, just “like” the TKM Facebook page; if you are a Twitter user, just “follow” TKMphoto on Twitter; if you use neither, just add a comment to this journal post. Decide which of the following photographs you would like to purchase, and then send an e-mail to email@example.com with “Yosemite Print Offer” in the subject line.
All photographs will be printed on 8.5×11 in. archival quality paper with an adequately sized white boarder to allow for easy matting and framing. They will be initialed on the print and include a signature and title on the back of the paper as well.
The special price breakdown is as follows:
Individual Prints: $15
Half-Set (4 prints): $50
Full-Set (8 prints): $100
These are guaranteed to be the lowest prices ever offered for this set of photographs. If you have any other questions or concerns; you may comment to this post, comment to the TKM Facebook link, or send an e-mail to the address provided above. Thank you, and please enjoy the gallery.
(click on an image thumbnail to view a larger version than what plays in the slideshow)
While certainly there must have been some disparity between the theology of John Muir and my own, I assume we would have agreed that the Yosemite region is one of God’s great works in geologic creativity and natural splendor. Superlatives leave much to be desired when applied to the waterfalls and granite monoliths of Muir’s “incomparable Yosemite Valley”. The park’s forests boast groves of stately oaks, cedars, and even sequoias all salted with beautiful dogwood blossoms.
At nine o’clock on Sunday night, the Sundevils wrapped up their regional tournament by dominating a weary Arkansas team, and I left the game heading west on I-10. By five thirty the next morning, I took the hint from eyelids that seemed on the verge of closing while I drove and pulled safely into a rest stop for a two hour nap. After 700 miles of driving and one more stop for breakfast at the Wawona Hotel, I finally arrived in the valley proper under cloudy skies that had recently dampened the ground.
I spent the next two days overwhelmed by a park of not particularly great size, but Yosemite lives up to all its hype and leaves a photographer reeling to make the best of each moment’s opportunity. Once a campsite was secured, I hit the trail heading for Vernal and Nevada Falls. I took the long way up, which turned out to be beneficial since I discovered on the way down that the Mist Trail totally lives up to its billing this time of year. Being dryer during the bulk of my photography allowed me to work some compositions that required stitching multiple frames in order to encompass the vistas that were not only wide, but also very tall.
My photography is far more often described as contemplative or calm than dramatic. Still, it was the drama of Yosemite that drew me back to the park roughly nine years after my first visit. I had a particularly strong desire to see the valley’s waterfalls near their peak, and the plunging torrents did not disappoint. Water seemed to be hurtling over cliffs at nearly every turn, and the forests had a spring-like liveliness even a few weeks before the summer solstice. The falls promise to continue their performance through the early summer since there was a considerable amount of fresh snow falling in the park during my visit.
It’s one thing to travel all through the night to reach a destination of dream inspiring grandeur, but it’s another thing entirely to drive home. For that reason, I left the valley early in the day and made my way back toward the south entrance to the park. With each mile up the road, I grew increasingly less likely to expend the necessary hours to return even as far as “tunnel view”, and in the end, I chose the Mariposa Grove as the finale for my brief visit. As God had allowed the most cooperative weather during the entirety of my trip, I could practically have been expecting that the trail to the upper grove would soon be engulfed in fog, multiplying the mysterious quality of this land of giants. Had it not been for a perilously low battery in my camera, I would have lost myself in creative response to the sublime surroundings.
In the end, the return trip to Phoenix seemed almost of no consequence due to the wondrous experience in Yosemite. I long now, not only for the return to that special place, but for the next opportunity to live in any of God’s wilderness; the chance to take my daughter into a landscape that will take her breath away or tickle her spirit with its wildlife; or the glimpse of the glorious with in my own backyard. I’m ready.
“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul alike.” – John Muir, The Yosemite
The above photo summarizes the purpose of yesterday’s helicopter flight out to the glacier. I never would have guessed (even a week ago) that I would see someone scuba diving in a supraglacial pool this summer, but it sure was fun. The short video below shows the bonus round where I tried to do Corey proud with dual cameras running. Cold water? Yeah, I think so!
I leave this afternoon for a trip down to Phoenix and the Southwest. It would be a real change of pace is we hadn’t had our nicest days of the year so far in Juneau in this past week. I still don’t think I’m prepared for Sunday’s forecasted 105 degrees. “Think…cool,…think…COOL…”