Northern Road Trip Part 1: Yosemite National Park

Yosemite was one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen in my life.

The night before I left for my journey up the western coastline, it was brought to my attention that there was a massive fire that was interfering with the visibility of the Yosemite Valley. I had heard of this fire before (goes by the name of the Detweiller Fire) and I had no worries of it affecting my trip until I woke up the day of my departure and read about it doubling in size and being reduced to only 5% contained. I was a bit nervous that the smoke would ruin my scheduled landscape composition of the Yosemite Valley, but I decided to go with my plan and play it by ear.

 

 

I arrived in Yosemite at approximately 7 p.m. and was in absolute disbelief of the light that the sun was casting onto the road. The smoke from the raging Detweiller Fire created a mask in front of the soon-to-set sun, brilliantly illuminating the road ahead of me in the most beautiful shade of pink/red that I had ever seen in my life. I couldn't believe what I was seeing; I had to fight the forever nagging itch to stop at every bend in the road to take a photograph.

 Gave in and stopped to shoot his image. ISO 400, f/6.3, 1/1000, 50mm.

Gave in and stopped to shoot his image. ISO 400, f/6.3, 1/1000, 50mm.

 

I was determined to get a view of Yosemite Valley while I still had some light. Unfortunately, I was late upon my arrival and the sun had already set below the horizon.

 Yosemite Valley at 7:54 P.M. ISO 400, f/5, 1/250, 50mm. 

Yosemite Valley at 7:54 P.M. ISO 400, f/5, 1/250, 50mm. 

Instead of having a lit up, crystal-clear Yosemite Valley like I had originally planned for, I saw an apocalyptic-like view of the beautiful Yosemite Falls and El Capitan rock begging for help. The smoke gave off a deep-grey tint and haze that made my view appear as if it was a black-and-white photograph. Although I was disappointed that I had missed the light of the setting sun, I had high hopes for the next morning's sunrise due to the amazing light that came from that night's sunset. With that, I cooked up dinner, set up my bed, and got my night's rest. 

The next morning, I crawled out of bed at around 5 A.M. to begin getting my equipment set up and to take advantage of the empty view spot prior to the sun's rise. As I was getting everything positioned, I could feel the warmth of the sun throughout my body and I could see the colors begin to cast in the sky. Before I knew it, an orb-like sun rose above the broken mountainous horizon. The smoke-filled sky allowed for only a dim light to flood the tree-filled valley. The same beautiful pink/red colors filled the sky as the night before. 

 Yosemite Valley at 6:33 A.M. ISO 100, f/9, 1/50th, 50mm. 

Yosemite Valley at 6:33 A.M. ISO 100, f/9, 1/50th, 50mm. 

This sunrise view was one of my favorites to-date. Something about watching a landscape gain light always takes my breath away; to me, a smoke-filled Yosemite displaying so beautiful in such drastic times represented a sense of hope to those who have a fire in their life, such as the Detweiller Fire to Yosemite. Although our problems may seem to be destroying everything, whether they be inner demons, mental-instability, insecurities, or tragedy/hardship, there is still beauty within the madness to be appreciative of and there is and always will be light to follow. 

Thank you CBS news for publishing my photos in last night's evening broadcast. They appear in the last 10 seconds. What an awesome birthday present. 

As you read this, i will be just out of the Redwoods National Park and entering Oregon. My next blog will be on the Redwoods and my first couple nights in Oregon, Thank you all for reading, if you enjoyed feel free to leave a LIKE and COMMENT, I would like to hear from everybody! Also, don't forget to share!