Yosemite and Playing in the Snow

Starry Night at Valley View

Starry NIght at Valley View


A couple of weeks ago, I headed to Yosemite to meet up with a group of photographers.   The main catalyst for the timing of our adventure had been to photograph the comet, ISON, over the monoliths of Yosemite.  Of course, we all knew before we left home, ISON had had a close encounter of the fatal kind with the big and mighty Sun.  Therefor, we gathered with a eye toward Yosemite in the Winter.


A snowstorm had come through Yosemite five days before we met.  It dropped a foot or more of snow on the valley floor.  With the valley floor at 4,000 feet, Yosemite Valley doesn’t get a great deal of snow.  When a storm does hit and deposits snow, it generally melts quickly due to the relatively warmer temperatures at the lower elevation of the valley floor.  Were we in for a treat!  Immediately after the storm, a cold front with temperatures in the single digits kept the shaded areas dressed in its winter white.   The shaded areas of the valley floor remained in a state of suspension – the snow felt and looked as if it had just fallen.   Then the hoarfrost formed turning the valley floor into a truly magically scene.  Hoarfrost refers to the white ice crystals, loosely deposited on the ground or exposed objects, that form on cold clear nights when heat is lost to the open sky causing objects to become colder than the surrounding air.


The image above was taken at one of the most visited location in the park, Valley View.  There is, of course, a reason it is so heavily visited.  There is a wide variety of compositions for photographers and incredible beautiful views for everyone else.  A panoramic view with El Capitan on the left and Cathedral Rocks and Bridalviel Fall on your right is just the beginning once you step out of your vehicle.  The Merced River flows by with rocks and fallen logs; there are dogwoods in April and May; and many, many intimate scenes to photograph or just enjoy.  Our group spent a lot of time here, visiting it everyday and sometimes more than once a day.



White on White

With this second image, taken in El Capitan Meadow, I wanted to capture and share the feeling of being one with nature..  Even though the meadow had a couple of dozen photographers, no one was around this beautiful tree covered with hoarfrost.  It seemed to call to me.   For 20 or 30 yards I hiked through the snow.  At one point tripping over a fallen limb hidden by the snow and landing face first while my camera and tripod disappeared into the snow.  I scrambled up, dug my camera and tripod out of the snow.  Thanks to the foot or more of powder snow, nothing was hurt except, maybe, my pride.   I said a silent “thank you” to the Nikon folks for their quality cameras.  Finally reaching my tree, I stood in the snow and under the ice-laden limbs looking out at what seemed like nothing but pure white.  After a minute or two, I remembered my camera and why I was there.  Setting up my tripod, attaching my micro lens, making calculations, I adjusted my settings and finally pressed the shutter release button gently.   A short time later, I walked back to the waiting cars not really caring that I had caused the group to wait a few extra minutes before heading on to our next stop.


As most of you probably know by now, Yosemite is one of my favorite places to shoot, especially in the winter with snow on the ground.  To see more of my images from this shoot, check out my website, www.gailberremanphotography.com/portfolios.  There are images in both the National Park portfolio and the Nature: Animals and Intimate Scenes portfolio.  If you enjoyed this blog, please share with others, on your Facebook or through email.


Thank you for reading my blog and viewing my images.  May you and yours have a wonderful Holiday and a Happy, Healthy New Year!  And don’t forget to See the Extraordinary in the Ordinary!