El Capitan

El Capitan

El Capitan as viewed from the banks of the Merced River framed by two incense cedar trees

My wife, Pamela, and I have been going through my library recently to select images for an artwork project in our house. I’m fairly meticulous about tagging and rating my images so I at least have most of my best images rated as four or five stars. However, as we dug a bit deeper we found a few images that hadn’t made the initial cut but seemed worthy of further processing. This is one of those images.

On a family vacation back in 2006, we were fortunate enough to visit incomparably beautiful Yosemite National Park. We have family who live on the central California coast whom we had visited and then made our way over to Yosemite for a few days. What a few days it was too!

We arrived in what is early summer in the South but was still very much early to mid-spring in Yosemite. In early June of 2006, the Tioga road was still closed and wouldn’t open until mid-June well after our visit had ended. Although I would have very much enjoyed seeing the entirety of Yosemite, the heavy snowfall that winter meant that the waterfalls were booming and the streams were full.

Sometime during our few days in the valley, I took one day to explore. On that day I attempted to visit as many different parts of the valley as possible. On this particular hike, I was looking for a somewhat unique view of El Capitan. If you don’t know, El Capitan is one of the tallest freestanding granite outcrops in the world. Climbers scale its face and sometimes need to sleep overnight hanging from pitons in their tents or sleeping bags. I can’t imagine attempting a climb of such a face but I really can’t imagine how it must feel to sleep hanging thousands of feet above the valley floor!

On that hike I picked my way along the Merced River hoping to find an interesting shot. As I was hiking back down a short trail I was struck by this view of the river and valley framed by these beautiful cedar trees. Even though it was shot with a camera that I don’t use anymore, the D100, I’m still pleased with the image. Of course that result speaks more to the beauty of the scenery than it does about the photographer. I’m already looking forward to a return trip. Enjoy!


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