Greetings! After taking quite a long time away from writing here (Almost a year and a half!), I’m back at it, recommitting to posting what I’m up to.
I thought I’d write about my experiences within the last month. As always is the case in the summer, Yosemite’s season gets into full swing and this year proved to be on par to previous. One incredible new thing I got to participate in July was being an assistant to Michael Frye in the gallery’s Hidden Yosemite workshop. This is a five-day course that puts participants into some of Yosemite’s most spectacular scenery, most of it away from the roads and where few visitors go to or even know about (thus “Hidden”…). The workshop is based out of Lee Vining, 30 minutes east of the park boundary, right next to Mono Lake. This location made it possible to also photograph locations just outside the park, in the Eastern Sierra and around Mono Lake.
Many of the staff photographers at the gallery joke that Michael Frye brings stormy weather with him to all his workshops because of the multitude of incredible shots he and his participants get of lit-up magenta clouds, storm light, etc. This week proved to be another one of those weeks and the following pictures show what we experienced during the Hidden Yosemite workshop:
I was incredibly grateful to be assisting Michael during his workshop. He has continually been an inspiration for my photography and a resource for questions I’ve had about all topics related to the camera, post-processing, and printing. Not only did he let me participate in teaching the students, but he also allowed me to take a group up to Middle Gaylor Lake for a moonset shot (a shot I’ve been wanting for quite some time!) as he took another group to photograph an alternative moonset over Tenaya Lake. Thank you Michael!!
Guiding people in the park also increases during the summer. I did many guided sessions for people in July and it’s such a rewarding experience for me. One of my favorites was taking a teenager out for her first time in Yosemite. She will be going into an art college this fall, learning about – you guessed it – photography! We had an incredible day, as unsettled weather was in the Yosemite area, with storm clouds in the sky. We both caught this view of El Capitan and Half Dome, with a rainbow between them, from Turtleback Dome:
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Moving out of teaching/guiding and into personal photography, I got to spend some time in the latter part of July discovering places in Yosemite I hadn’t visited yet. I hiked a three-day backpack trip that took me from the perimeter of the Cathedral Range up to Merced Lake, one of the High Sierra Camps in the park. I didn’t get the glorious, stormy weather (I guess Michael needed to be with me for that to happen!), but I managed to find some fun compositions:
My favorite was coming across a scene that Ansel Adams had photographed in 1936, Juniper Cliffs and River, Upper Merced River Canyon. I’ve put his and mine together here so you can see the differences. The two most obvious to me are the taller tree to the left of the Juniper and more lichen around both trees (darker area on the rock). Otherwise, they could look almost identical. I am amazed at how little the trees really have changed.
Lastly, I’ll put in a few words about some fires that occured the last week in July. The El Portal Fire started July 26th, just above the town of El Portal, and quickly spread up the hill to Foresta, where fire crews did an incredible job limiting lost homes to one, possibly two. The following photos are from the last week in July:
As of today (August 4), the fire is 96% contained, with cool weather and possible rain in the forecast. This bodes well for all the fires in our area, the largest being the French Fire, very near where my girlfriend Shauna Potocky lives, in Oakhurst. It is currently at 13,000 plus acres, but the cooler temps have helped fire crews start to get a handle on this fire, which was caused by careless people not properly putting out their campfire. I sure hope the rest of the summer is fire free!
I am hoping to continue with my blog series, so check in from time to time to see what I’m up to! Enjoy the rest of your summer…or winter if you live on the other half of the planet!