Winter Wonderland In Yosemite – Part 3 Eastern Sierras Photo Trip


Valley View Winterland - Yosemite National Park

Welcome back to for another crazy week of photography stories. So to catch up everybody we have just got back from shooting under a full moon in Yosemite National Park.. It is late and almost 3AM; we only have two hours to sleep. So we set the alarm and of course I rush to the door to see how the sky looks. NOT A SINGLE CLOUD! Now I am glad that the sun is going to be out but it would have been ever better if there were some clouds to add depth to the image. So we rush out the door and one of the members who has joined us can not ever get out of bed in time. So every time we rush to get out early in the morning it ends up being a no go as we ending up having to wait. Note to self – MAKE SURE EVERYBODY IN YOUR GROUP IS AS EAGER AS YOU! This is no one’s fault just some serious miscommunication among is. Now I love going with a group but you got to have everyone on the same page or things turn messy real quick.


Tunnel View In The Late Afternoon - Yosemite National Park

Anyways,we are thirty minutes behind and we all go out to this scene where it is suppose to real be stunning for its reflection called Cathedral Beach – well this ended up not being as great as we would have liked. We ended up finally meeting up with Ryan Dyar and Jesse Estes down for sunrise. I do not think anyone even took out there camera for more then a few minutes. After sunrise we headed back to the lodge as the sun was too strong and the contrast was too much. After much debate we decided to stay and hope for some clouds for sunset.


A View From The Bridge Of El Captain - Yosemite National Park

This meant hanging out all day waiting; so we did what most people do during their visits here and that was to visit the Ansel Adams Gallery to get some potential ideas for later. Hours later we exited the gallery and headed for lunch. So we went to the local cafeteria and had some pizza and coke. Big mistake for me as I am lactose intolerant and should not being having any kind of cheese; but I was desperate for food.


Soft Light Glowing Along Roadside - Yosemite National Park

Well as you can guess everything went downhill from here, as I could not get out of the bathroom as it was only getting worse as time progressed. A few hours later and it is time to go and get ready for sunset – the problem I cannot get out of the bathroom and I have three other guys waiting. So I call my wife and tell her I am stuck in this bathroom and every time I get a foot out the door I have to run back – WHAT THE HECK CAN I DO!   So I grabbed a roll of toilet paper and hoped things would not get worse. As we made our way back to the car we noticed a change in weather.


Late Afternoon Light From Bridge - Yosemite National Park

The most amazing clouds were moving in and we had to hurry if we were going to get some late afternoon light and clouds. I knew if this was going to happen I needed to talk to the guys. I expressed that if we were going to get anything in the next hour we needed to “Stick and Move”. This is my term for fast paced landscape photography. This involves setting a limit of five minutes at each place and syncing the alarms on our watch to alert us when to move on to the next stop.  Now I know most of you reading this are shaking our head but it works as long as everybody is on board. An hour later and we had hit up at least six good spots such as Valley View, Tunnel View, El Captain From The Bridge, Cook’s Meadow just to name a few.


Long Exposure As This Stump Stands Alone - Yosemite National Park

The only thing left was a sunset at Valley View; the clouds were moving in fast and we wondered if there might not even be a sunset. So I get in line with the crowd of other photographers gathered around waiting for sunset. So we waited and waited and nothing was happening yet.


Valley View Sunset In Winter - Yosemite National Park

In the process of trying to get a better composition I slipped on the ice and nearly knocked over the photographer’s camera next to me which was a 40,000 dollar Hasselblad H3D. Lucky for me it managed to say up and I was counting my blessings – can you imagine breaking a 40,000 camera? I mean what do you do after it happens – say your sorry and give him your business card and hope to see you again one day; Not likely to happen.  So after begging for forgiveness from the photographer I come across the fact he is the one and only Peter Lik. Now if you do not know who he is, he is unquestionably one of the most successful landscape photographers in the world with galleries all over. He is an Australian photographer who now resides in Las Vegas and now travels in a custom designed F550 made to live in and at the same time get around absolutely anywhere. THIS IS MY IDOL!!! I am not sure how many landscape photographers actually make money but here is one that is great at it and he loves what he does. After speaking with him in great length I came to realize this man has some great wisdom about him. Not only was he the funniest guy around but also most important thing was he did not take himself too seriously.

Looking Up From The Floor - Yosemite National Park

Looking Up From The Floor - Yosemite National Park

So if I am being honest I was too enthralled to even be cognizant of the sunset and I was just pressing the shutter without g. So I walked away from this sunset not really knowing if I had got anything great but I did come away with a whole new approach to photography thanks to Peter Lik. We headed back to the car and decided to make an all night journey straight to Death Valley for sunrise without sleeping. Stay tuned for more adventures in the next blog. Thanks again for dropping by and please if you have any suggestions you would like to see let me know. Thanks.


Looking Straight Down Tunnel View - Yosemite National Park


~ by kevinmcneal on March 1, 2009.

3 Responses to “Winter Wonderland In Yosemite – Part 3 Eastern Sierras Photo Trip”

  1. Wicked HDR. Beautiful work.


  2. You’re stories get better and better Kevin. Maybe you should aim for a third career as a writer and team up with Brian Rueb. Now that would be amazing. 😉

    From this series of shots I especially love the Valley View Sunset aka ‘I almost gave Peter Lik’s 40 grand Hasselblad a bath’… LOL The soft reflections on the smoothed out water along with the nice shine on the snow-covered rocks are out of this world. Incredible photography!!!

  3. wow the night B/W’s are amazing! love the tree.
    really like the first tunnel view image, it’s captured so much beauty, the light kissing the rock face tops it off.

    and the row of tree’s shot is so well seen.
    such a simple scene, but perfectly composed.

    imagine doing that to Peter Lik’s camera! far out!!!
    wonder if he’s got a few back up hasselblad’s though… 😛
    if anyone does it’s probably him.

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