CLCrow Photography Blog

Capturing Life At Its Best

Yosemite – Part 3

After taking a water/rest break, I decided to continue the hike up to the top of Nevada Falls which round trip is 7 miles from Yosemite Valley.  The hike to Vernal Falls is a moderate hike, continuing on to Nevada Falls makes it a strenuous hike.  I was really starting to feel it in my legs when I got to the top of Nevada Falls.  After taking a break, I prepared to head back down to the valley by way of the John Muir trail.  Two cute guys that I met on the trail tried to talk me into continuing the hike with them which would end at to top of Half Dome.

The thing about the Half Dome hike besides it is a long hike (10-12 hours round trip) to reach the summit, to be able to reach the summit, the cables (ladders) have to be in place because it is the length of 4 football fields at almost 90 degree angle. This is a hike that is best started at sunrise.  Hikers/climbers also need to be careful for thunderstorms in the area because Half Dome gets hit by lightning frequently.  I found out when I got back to the valley that the cables were not in place yet so it wouldn’t matter.  As much as I would love to see the incredible views from the top of Half Dome, I don’t think I could handle it due to my intense fear of heights.

By the time I made it back down to the valley, my legs were like jelly.  I couldn’t wait until I got home and developed the rolls to see all the photos I had taken.  About an hour or two later I decided to push myself and made the hike over to Yosemite Falls. It’s an easy short hike to the tallest waterfall in North America so it is always crowded.  One thing that surprised me was how loud the falls are.    I took a few photos and used up that role of film.  The next roll that was put in the camera was my b/w roll.  Halfway back down the trail I stopped turned around and took a photo of Upper/Lower Yosemite Falls. This was by far the best picture I took from my trip.  I have had visitors to my apartment think that it is an Ansel Adams print.  The highest compliment this nature photographer can receive.

Deciding to treat myself, I went over to Ahwahnee Hotel restaurant and had prime rib.  Overpriced but it tasted good. Just as I made it back to my tent, the skies opened up and it started to pour.  I read for a few hours and then went to sleep.

Coming up tomorrow ….. leaving the most beautiful place on earth, The Presidio, Alcatraz


December 7, 2009 Posted by | Experiences, Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Yosemite – Part 2

I woke up Saturday morning at 5:30 – the joy of being in a different time zone .  Knowing I would not get back to sleep I gathered my things to head down to the shower.  However, a big surprise awaited me.  When I opened my tent flap there was a black bear cub less than 100 feet from where I stood.  I looked around and saw mama and two more cubs not far away.   Deciding it probably wasn’t very smart to go up against a full grown black mama bear protecting her cubs, I closed my tent flap and waited a little while before heading out. I must admit that I prefer to have some sort a fence between us if I am that close to a bear.  I will say that the bear cubs were awfully cute though.

After getting ready and having breakfast I headed out on my hikes.  My first hike was to Mirror Lake which was a good distance from my campsite. Mirror Lake is perfectly named – there was a perfect mirror image of the mountain in the lake which I was able to capture in a photograph.  Then, deciding that I needed to save my legs for later hikes, I took the tram back to the main part of the valley.

I pulled out a book of Yosemite Valley Hikes that I had purchased before my trip to determine my next hike.  I decided that the Vernal Falls would be next. The good thing about that particular hike (which is 3 miles round trip) is part of the it consists of the Mist Trail (Yosemite’s signature hike) which is aptly named because  you get hit with mist from Vernal Falls.  Wearing shorts and a tee shirt, my hair in a pony tail with my baseball cap and my Rayban sunglasses,  I put my camera strap around my neck, and grabbed several rolls of film along with my trusty water jug and I was on my way.

My first stop to take photos was the foot bridge where I used two different vantage points for my photos;  one was for taking photos of Vernal Falls and the other was while I had my back to the fall when I took some photos of the canyons.  I then continued on my way by way of The Mist Trail.

The last few hundred meters of the Mist Trail hike up to Vernal Falls are actually stairs cut in the side of the mountain. This happens to be where the mist is the heaviest.  This also is the most dangerous place because one slip can cause you to fall in the river where the current is often too strong to overcome.  It is on the Mist Trail where most Yosemite’s deaths occur.  I found myself starting to panic due to my fear of heights.  This actually was  not because of the climb up but because I was afraid I was going to have to return the same way.  Luckily, I ran into some very nice hikers who told me about taking the John Muir Trail down.  Now that my panic had subsided I  was on my way up the trail to the top of Vernal falls. I was surprised when I got to the top of Vernal Falls because it was large and flat with a railing overlooking the falls.

From the top of the falls I took a photo of people coming up the Mist Trail.  In that photo I was fortunate enough to catch half of a rainbow.  (At present time I only have two  photos from my trip that were made digital, I haven’t digitalized the remaining photographs yet).

Coming up ……Day 2 continued….the hike up to Nevada Falls, Half Dome, Yosemite Falls

December 5, 2009 Posted by | Experiences | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Yosemite – Part 1

I am a big admirer of Ansel Adams and had a few of his photo books on Yosemite National Park.  Because of that, in May 1997 I decided to use my free airline ticket to anywhere in the continental U.S. to fly to California and go to Yosemite for a long weekend.  I love hiking and camping so I have all the necessary equipment.  I reserved a camping site in Lower Pines campground.  I flew out from Charlotte, NC on Friday morning and came back on the Red eye on Sunday night/Monday Morning.  In my backpack was all the supplies that I would need except food including tent, sleeping back, cooking tools, enough clothes for the trip. Although in typical female fashion, I took more clothes than I needed.   I arrived in San Francisco early afternoon and headed to Yosemite in my rental car.  I made it to the entrance a few hours later. Quite the drive up the mountains especially when you get behind an eighteen wheeler on the two lane road.

It took me three times as long to get from the entrance of the park to Yosemite Valley because I kept stopping at the scenic overlooks to take photos.  I finally made it into the valley and checked in.  I found my campsite and pitched my tent.  I then headed to the Valley store and picked up some groceries. When I got back to camp, I locked up the groceries in a bear proof container so the black bears would not get to my food.  My timing of my trip was perfect since due to the fact that Yosemite had almost record snow falls during the winter, the waterfalls were abundant.

After making sure everything was done and secure, I grabbed my camera and an extra role of film as I had time before nightfall for a short hike. Since I had a poster of Ansel’s Adams Bridalveil Falls hanging my living room at home, I decided that would be my first destination as I had always wanted to see it in person.  It was even more breathtaking than I had imagined.  My only complaint was since, surprisingly I know, I was not the only one there I had to patiently wait to take my shot.  Patience is not normally one of my virtues but for once since I was in one of the most picturesque places in the world so I didn’t really care.

When I got back to the campsite I was starving which was not all that surprising since it was 6 pm local time which made it 9 pm EDT and I had yet to have dinner.   After dinner, I walked around the valley taking in the views and taking photos of El Capitan and Half Dome.

Once the sun went down I climbed into my tent and decided to make some Jiffy Pop Popcorn with my little camping stove.  Believing it couldn’t be that hard to make the popcorn, I didn’t read the directions…..Big Mistake.  By the time I realized that I had to continuously move the container while it was heating, a good portion of the popcorn had burned – thank heavens I was able to savage some of it.  I learned an important lesson about following directions.

Even though it was only 9pm local time, my body was on east coast time, so I climbed into my tent and turned in for the night.

Coming up……encounter with black bears and my hike up to Nevada Falls.

December 4, 2009 Posted by | Experiences | , , , | Leave a comment

Rain Storm

Another good tip is either shooting right after a rain storm or taking a squirt gun and squirting flowers and leaves to give it the wet look. And if you are lucky, you will catch a water droplet falling off your subject.

December 3, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Best Time To Shoot

I’m always asked when is the best time to shoot. The best time to shoot is either around sunrise or sunset since the light is softer especially when shooting people because sunlight is very harsh. If you have to shoot during midday try to find some shade. Another good time to shoot is on overcast days.

December 2, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

Human/Animal Subjects

Human/Animal Subjects – when shooting people or animals, always leave space in front of them so it looks like they have room to escape. (i.e. if you are shooting a flying eagle, position the eagle on the left/right side of the photograph with plenty of space in front of them). Have the extra space where the person or animal is looking.

December 1, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment