California: Winter 2012

Back in February, I traveled out to California to do some winter photography, first in Yosemite National Park with my friend Lance Warley (his impressive photography can be seen here on his website) then solo to Death Valley National Park and the Alabama Hills in the Eastern Sierras.

The prospect for any winter photography in Yosemite was looking rather grim. Like much of the United States in 2012, winter was nearly nonexistent in Yosemite and there had hardly been any snow up to that point. But we were lucky. On the day we arrived, six inches of new snow had fallen and they were calling for more later that week.

We were also completely unaware that we had arrived during the famous Horsetail Falls “firefall” event, the two-week span when the sun backlights the falls at sunset at just the right angle. I guess you could say we were lucky in that regard, except that there was no waterfall to photograph. No snowpack meant no snowmelt which meant no Horsetail Falls. But that didn’t stop the hundreds of photographers, who arrived for the express purpose of photographing the event, from lining up at sunset to photograph the non-waterfall, as if they could collectively will it to materialize before their eyes. Curious indeed: dozens of photographers lined up at sunset to shoot a wet rock. (I must add, however, that after we left, the new snow did begin to melt and there was a small amount of water  falling from the back side of El Capitan, where Horsetail Falls should be.) For more information on Horsetail Falls, including how and when to photograph it, see Michael Frye’s excellent blog post on the subject.

So, here are just a few of the images from the trip. Many others, especially those from Death Valley, still need to be processed but I’ve been way too busy to complete. I’ll post them soon, I hope.

For those interested in visiting and photographing Yosemite National Park, I will be leading an instructional tour in September, in conjunction with the PSA International Conference in San Francisco where I will be a featured speaker. Click here for more information on this event.

Bridalveil Falls, Yosemite National Park

Giant Sequoias in Winter, Yosemite National Park

The Eye of Cyclops, Alabama Hills

Yosemite's Mariposa Grove

Last Light on Half Dome, Yosemite National Park

Yosemite Falls Under the Stars

| 3 Comments
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3 Comments

  1. Posted March 21, 2012 at 7:13 am by Lance Warley | Permalink

    Our Yosemite trip was awesome, Richard.

    Your guiding was great as always, and Yosemite in person surpassed everything I’d heard about it, if that’s even possible.

    See you in Iceland!

  2. Posted March 21, 2012 at 3:19 pm by gregorio pagliula | Permalink

    bellissime foto.

  3. Posted June 2, 2012 at 2:29 pm by Ellen | Permalink

    These are absolutely beautiful images,especially the night skies . Just wonderful

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