Wednesday was our full day in the park and we were hopeful for some great opportunities. The sky was blue with just a few wispy clouds, so we thought we'd revisit the Tunnel View Overlook to see how things looked. Of course I couldn't resist trying my best Ansel Adams impersonation. My Ansel Adams Impression - Tunnel View, Yosemite National Park

I have to say that this is a tough place to shoot. Not that there aren't a plethora of subjects available; the mountains, streams and valleys here have an amazing array of eye-catching scenes. (It really is difficult to imagine the scale of these monoliths from any photographs. The word "towering" was invented here, I think.) It's pretty difficult to find something that hasn't been done before. I've found myself falling victim to the same things I warn about it Close to Home: snapping away at the "trophy" images. I keep reminding myself that "your subject is not your photograph".

So I've tried to take my own advice and dig deeper to find the photographs that describe this place to me. It's still pretty hard to do, though. Trying to make a photograph that says "Yosemite" and isn't one of the classic views is a(nother) lesson in humility. It doesn't help, either, that terrific photographs by Ansel Adams, William Neill, and others are in practically every building in the park. It also doesn't help that I've never been here before, and two and a half days isn't nearly enough time to discover the soul of this place.

I can tell you the words that come to mind, though. Ancient. Everlasting. Monumental. If the stone here could speak, you would near the voices of all of those who have gone before us. These stones have seen the passage of time since this world was young, and their solidity and strength give me a kind of comfort. Touching them makes me feel like I'm reaching back in time and the cares of this world just fall away in the presence of something this everlasting.

Mirror Lake

The photograph here was made near Mirror Lake, under the looming presence of Half Dome. After the magnificent morning sky, the afternoon turned cloudy and gray. The light was fairly bright, but the sky was completely washed out. (How do you deal with a washed out sky? You don't, right? You try not to include it in your photograph.) This enormous chunk of granite was in the middle of the stream, which was calm enough to throw a good reflection. I included the trees on the opposite shore for scale, so you could see the size of this thing. (There are larger boulders, though, and they are everywhere in the park.)

Jeff Fielding and I had parked the car in the North Campground and walked the service road to the lake. It took us about three and a half hours to cover the 1.2 miles. We stopped multiple times and scrambled down the river's embankment to photograph the rushing water through the rocks and the reds, oranges, greens and blues between them. The experience reminded me of the same kind of thing I did in the Smokies a few months ago.


Afterward we walked back to the car, taking considerably less time to do so, and drove to the lodge to warm up with a couple of drinks and dinner. Tomorrow would be the last day in the park and I was hopeful that we'd get a break from the crappy skies, but the forecast wasn't too encouraging. I knew the rock would still be there, though, waiting for me.

That night, I dreamt of giants.