Yosemite National Park

This picture was taken at Glacier Point.  Glacier Point is a viewpoint above Yosemite Valley. It is located on the south wall of Yosemite Valley at an elevation of 7,214 feet, 3,200 feet above Half Dome Village. The point offers a superb view of several of Yosemite's well-known landmarks, including Yosemite Valley, Yosemite Falls, Half Dome, Vernal Falls, Nevada Falls, and Clouds Rest. Between 1872 and 1968, it was the site of the Yosemite Firefall.  The extreme point of the promontory of Glacier Point is wholly bare, but on the slopes below, in the hollow to the west, and on the wooded slope above, glacial material is abundant. Its glacial origin is definitely proved by the presence in it of rocks derived from Little Yosemite Valley and the Sierra Nevada mountains.

Picture Number: CM1_0021

Date: June 2017

Camera: Nikon D7100

ISO: 200     Shutter Speed: 1/250 sec

F-Stop: f/5.6     Lens: 18 mm

This picture of Yosemite Valley was taken at the Tunnel View viewpoint.  I chose to print this in Black and White (rather than color) because the view from this location is very similar to one of Ansel Adams’ prints, and I wanted to try and duplicate that picture.  The Tunnel View scenic overlook (constructed in 1933) is a historic site, located adjacent to Wawona Road/Highway 41. Visitors have seen and documented the iconic and expansive views of Yosemite Valley from the overlook since its opening in 1933. Internationally renowned artists to casual tourists have painted, drawn, and photographed the dramatic scenery from here and nearby vantage points since the 19th century.  The large viewpoint area is located directly east of the Wawona Tunnel portal, as one enters Yosemite Valley from points south.   The view looks eastward into Yosemite Valley, and includes surrounding features, such as the southwest face of El Capitan on the left, Half Dome on axis, and Bridalveil Fall on the right. The overlook was constructed during an era that heralded a boom in design and development throughout the National Park Service, and helped initiate the National Park Service “rustic design style.” Wawona Tunnel and Tunnel View were determined eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places in 1986 because of their exemplary design.  Very little physical change occurred to Tunnel View’s physical features (including rock work, circulation patterns, and configuration) since it was built. The site remains one of the most popular scenic overlooks in Yosemite National Park, with an estimated 5,000 to 7,000 people visiting per day during the height of the tourist season. 

Picture Number: CM1_0039

Date: June 2017

Camera: Nikon D7100

ISO: 110     Shutter Speed: 1/60 sec

F-Stop: f/8     Lens: 40 mm

This picture of the Merced River was taken along El Porto Road (SR 140).  From its source on the south side of Mount Lyell at 13,114 feet, through a glacially carved canyon within Yosemite National Park, the river flows downstream to Lake McClure Reservoir. The Merced River drops over Nevada Falls and Vernal Falls, together known as the "Giant Staircase", then receives Illilouette Creek and flows into Yosemite Valley, where it meanders between pine forests and meadows that fill the valley floor. Tenaya, Yosemite, Bridalveil and Pigeon Creeks join the Merced River in Yosemite Valley. Beyond the glacial moraine at the western end of the valley the river flows through the steep Merced River Canyon, picks up Cascade Creek and turns south near El Portal. Sate Route 140 follows the river out of the west entrance to the national park, a few miles before the South Fork of the Merced River, the largest tributary, joins from the left.  The Merced, including the South Fork, flows through exceptional scenery—glaciated peaks, lakes and alpine and subalpine meadows—in alternating pools and cascades. Wildflower displays are spectacular. The South Fork possesses one of the few remaining pristine Sierra Nevada fisheries with self-sustaining populations of rainbow, eastern brook and brown trout. Archeology and wildlife are also noteworthy.

Picture Number: CM1_0034

Date: June 2017

Camera: Nikon D7100

ISO: 200     Shutter Speed: 1/80 sec

F-Stop: f/10     Lens: 30 mm

This picture is of Upper Yosemite Falls. Located in the Sierra Nevada mountains, it is a major attraction in the park, especially in late spring when the water flow is at its peak. Yosemite Falls is the highest waterfall in Yosemite National Park, dropping a total of 2,425 feet from the top of the upper fall to the base of the lower fall.  The Upper Yosemite Fall’s 1,430-foot plunge comprises over half the total drop. Trails from the valley floor and down from other park areas outside the valley lead to both the top and base of Upper Yosemite Fall. The upper fall is formed by the swift waters of Yosemite Creek, which, after meandering through Eagle Creek Meadow, hurl themselves over the edge of a hanging valley in a spectacular and deafening show of force.

Picture Number: CM1_0116

Date: June 2017

Camera: Nikon D7100

ISO: 200     Shutter Speed: 1/250 sec

F-Stop: f/5.6     Lens: 45 mm

This picture was taken at the viewpoint for Staircase Falls.  Staircase Falls is one of two named ephemeral waterfalls within Yosemite Valley. The falls occur along the very fittingly named Gossamer Creek as it cascades down from Glacier Point. Gossamer Creek's natural course into Yosemite Valley was via a large joint in the bedrock which forms a gully that runs from the Glacier Point parking area clear to the valley floor at about a 45-degree angle. However, at about the 5800-foot level, the creek has been diverted northeast from its otherwise northwesterly course - most likely by a rockfall - at which point it intersects the bedrock forming the cliffs above Camp Curry and cascades about 1,300 feet to the valley floor. Perhaps the most eye-catching characteristic of this drop is that due to the jointing in the cliffs, the falls actually shift to the east as they fall. This creates the striking stair-stepping which gives the falls its name, but at the same time the falls are technically continuous because below each step the creek continues sliding downward rather than pausing in a pool.  Because Gossamer Creek drains from an extremely small area near Glacier Point, Staircase Falls is a very short-lived feature. However, because there is soil in the basin and it faces north, winter snow is slow to melt and the ground is slow to allow the water to run off, so while the falls do run dry by the end of June, they flow fairly consistently (albeit very lightly) during the spring months.

Picture Number: CM1_0099

Date: June 2017

Camera: Nikon D7100

ISO: 200     Shutter Speed: 1/125 sec

F-Stop: f/5.6     Lens: 60 mm

El Capitan, also known as El Cap, is a vertical rock formation in Yosemite National Park, located on the north side of Yosemite Valley, near its western end. El Capitan is composed almost entirely of a pale, coarse-grained granite emplaced approximately 100 million years ago. In addition to El Capitan, this granite forms most of the rock features of the western portions of Yosemite Valley. A separate intrusion of igneous rock, the Taft Granite, forms the uppermost portions of the cliff face.  A third igneous rock, diorite, is present as dark-veined intrusions through both kinds of granite, especially prominent in the area known as the North America Wall.  El Capitan’s iconic granite walls dominate the west end of Yosemite Valley. At more than 3,000 feet above the valley floor, it is 2.5 times as tall as the Empire State Building, or more than 3 times as high as the tip of the Eiffel Tower.  Native Americans gave the mountain various names, including To-tock-ah-noo-lah, which meant “Rock Chief” or “Captain.” The first recorded sighting by white settlers occurred in 1851, when a local militia known as the Mariposa Battalion entered the valley while pursuing Indians. While several names were given to the granite buttress—including Crane Mountain—it eventually became known as El Capitan, Spanish for “The Captain.” The monolith and scenic valley attracted artists, including painters and photographers. Their works helped make the area well known, and in 1890 Yosemite National Park was created.

Picture Number: CM1_0068

Date: June 2017

Camera: Nikon D7100

ISO: 200     Shutter Speed: 1/250 sec

F-Stop: f/5.6     Lens: 24 mm

This is a picture of the Yosemite Sugar Pine Mountain RR’s engine #10 as it was being prepared for its next trip.  No. 10 is a 3 ft narrow gauge three-truck Shay steam locomotive constructed for the Pickering Lumber Company. The locomotive was completed on March 2, 1928 by the Lima Locomotive Works of Lima, Ohio and later acquired by the West Side Lumber Company in 1934. No. 10 burns oil, with a capacity to hold 1,200 gallons of oil and 3,420 gal of water. This locomotive is reputedly the largest narrow-gauge Shay locomotive ever constructed. The Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad is a historic 3 ft narrow gauge railroad with two operating steam train locomotives located near Fish Camp, California, in the Sierra National Forest near the southern entrance to Yosemite National Park.  The current railroad follows a portion of grade originally carved into the mountain by the Madera Sugar Pine Lumber Company in the early 20th century. The company originated in 1874, when it was organized as the California Lumber Company to log the area surrounding Oakhurst, CA. The Madera Sugar Pine Lumber Company once had a large sawmill at Sugar Pine, CA, just south of the current YMSPRR.

Picture Number: CM1_0115

Date: June 2017

Camera: Nikon D7100

ISO: 250     Shutter Speed: 1/125 sec

F-Stop: f/5.6     Lens: 88 mm

This picture is of a team of climbers ascending El Capitan.  Even at this high magnification it is difficult to see them.  (Look for the large crack in the middle of the picture.  It is generally easier to see their shadow then actually see them.  The bottom climber is the easiest one to see as he is dressed in green.)  For many years it was believed that climbing the mountains’ vertical walls was impossible. In 1957, however, Warren Harding led an expedition to scale the peak. The group focused on the prow that formed where the southeastern and southwestern faces meet; it became known as the Nose. For 45 days over more than one year, they established a route by inserting pitons and drilling bolt holes for the fixed ropes. On November 12, 1958, Harding and two others finally summited the mountain. Since then El Capitan has become popular with climbers, and in 2017 Alex Honnold became the first to ascend the mountain without using ropes.

Picture Number: CM1_0023

Date:    June 2017

Camera:    Nikon D7100

ISO:   560              Shutter Speed:  1/1000 sec

F-Stop:  f/5.6         Lens:    140 mm

This is a picture is of Half Dome from the Merced Canyon Overlook on State Highway 120 (Big Oak Flat Road). Half Dome is a granite dome at the eastern end of Yosemite Valley in Yosemite National Park. It is a well-known rock formation in the park, named for its distinct shape. One side is a sheer face while the other three sides are smooth and round, making it appear like a dome cut in half.  The granite crest rises more than 4,737 ft above the valley floor.  As late as the 1870’s, Half Dome was described as "perfectly inaccessible" by Josiah Whitney of the California Geological Survey. The summit was finally reached by George G. Anderson in October 1875, via a route constructed by drilling and placing iron eyebolts into the smooth granite.  Today, Half Dome may be ascended in several different ways. Thousands of hikers reach the top each year by following an 8.5 mi trail from the valley floor. 

Picture Number: DSC_0028

Date: June 2014

Camera: Nikon D80

ISO: 200     Shutter Speed: 1/200 sec

F-Stop: f/5.6     Lens: 135 mm

© 2020 by Richard Carter.
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Last updated on 3 October 2020