Help Support My Photography

To purchase prints of my work please visit my site linked above,, or email me at All proceeds go directly to this photography trip to Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


For my 8th block trip I did a photography trip in Sequoia & Kings Canyon and Yosemite National Parks. I spent about ten days in each trying to capture the parks the life and death, the big and the small. I journaled daily and blogged that and photos online here. I spent most of my days hiking throughout the parks photographing with the rest of my time was spent organizing and editing my photographs. I camped out in the parks and enjoyed the wild assortment of weather and climates that were provided. With a record snowfall this past winter I often hiked on snow and the rivers were massive. It rained, snowed, bloomed, shined, and froze. I was alone for most of the trip and that caused me to learn about myself and gave me immense freedom with my schedule and photography.

I think that this trip was a great success. I got to be on my own and gain independence. I explored my photography experience and skill. I learned about myself and my photography. I made thousands of photographs and although I didn't always meet my goal of at least 100 each day I made up for the few days below with some days making up to 600+ photos. My big goal of capturing the essence of the park and everything that they are made of was not a complete success. I think that it would take at least a lifetime to really achieve that goal but I do think that I made a good start and did explore and photograph a wide range of subjects and environments living and dead, big and small. Over all I think I learned a lot and grew as a person and am very glad that Scattergood Friends School enabled this experience. 

Friday, May 20, 2011

The Drive Home

Day 24 5/18

Well Actually much more happened today that I want to write about so yesterday is just guna start today. I got out of the valley and drove and drove and drove. A long day of driving but it went well and I didn't get really tired and feel confident that I will be able to survive the trip. It had always been a slight concern if I would be able to drive for such extended periods of time and keep it up for a few days. I can! I also learned some. I used to always wonder why my parents listened to news and talking instead of music and now I know. It is much more engaging and keeps you mind active. Music so easily melds into background noise that does not good keeping you awake. I have listened to the radio news, spanish stations that were lots of fun and abundant in CA, music, CDs, audiobooks. It has also been fun to just look at the scenery for a time. I have traveled through snowy mountain passes, endless deserts not the sand kind but the shrubby kind, and everything in-between.  I then had my biggest adventure near the end of the day when I went off the big highway, I-80 which I am following from CA to IA, and was making a u-turn but didn't see the roadside reflective post. I backed into it and broke some good sized chunks out of the bumper. 

Day 25 5/19

At first I thought all the lights were fine but actually the blinker bulb had fallen out, but not broken, but I then broke it trying to put it back in. Luckily there was a car parts shop right across the parking lot and I was able to get two new bulbs for under $4. I had noticed that whenever I used that blinker it would blink very fast which got me to check it again. I do not like the GPS it is annoying and gives me directions that I ignore half the time. I do leave it on for the most part thought just to make sure I don't unintentionally go a different route. I meant to stop at Salt lake today to take a break and sight see but when I got into the city it was rush hour and very big highways with lots of traffic so I was to busy to pick an exit to head off in. I also didn't really know where I wanted to go specifically. I am making good progress and am looking forward to my return to Scattergood. I spent a good few hours going through heavy rain alternating with snow as I went over yet another pass. After I had gotten a little ways into Wyoming I was going to stop at the rest area on the map and sleep but it was closed. I drove awhile longer then stopped at a gas station to take a break and decide where to sleep now but as I pulled into the parking lot it was apparent that many people park and sleep at this gas station. So I joined them. 

Day 26 5/20

I didn't sleep very well last night. I have been making improvements to my shotgun bed every night but I can't fix the tilt which prevents me from sleeping on my side very well. Since that is my preferred way to sleep it is difficult and all the outside noise and light doesn't help ether. So I woke up kinda early and let myself take a slow start to the day. I have now been driving for around 6 hours and it is only lunchtime. I may try to make it the rest of the way back today since it is only 8 more hours. We will see though I may take a few hours nap somewhere along the way. It is right at that unfortunate length that is a little long to do today but wont be much tomorrow and sleeping in a bed would be amazing. The road goes on. One thing that was neat is in one stein they had posts that gave the miles and how many seconds it should have taken you to get there from the start. It was very accurate and was designed to check your speedometer. 

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Exciting days and now I am headed home

Day 22 5/16

Today it cleared slightly and the sun actually peaked out a bit. I was out for my sunrise photo walk when I saw all this mist rising. I decided that instead I would go to tunnel view and photograph the valley because many of the famous photos of the valley include mist and are from that view. Even though the sun had yet to be visible from the valley floor it was above the horizon at the overlook. It posed some problems with trying to get the photo I wanted but I managed to get some cool ones. I also got some cool ones of the snow covered trees. After that I went back to bed for awhile then spent much of the day working on preparing my photo print order including photos of this trip. I then went out for an evening hike but unfortunately it was cloudy again although most of the snow had melted. I then did more computer work in the car sheltered from the rain before going to bed early.

Day 23 5/17

Today started out normal but boy did that change. I got up and broke camp as I was going to move to a new campground for the last two nights before heading home. I ate, took a photo walk, checked road conditions at the visiter center(the ones I needed where open), then went to the wifi spot to make my photo print order. Making the order took forever because I had a lot of photos to upload and a slow internet connection. Finally I finished and took the shuttle back to my car and started off. Then they day went wild. I couldn't get to my campground because I needed chains to go on that road, Lise didn't want me to drive if I needed chains so I didn't bring any. I made some quick decisions and turned around and was planning on spending one more night in Yosemite valley then leave for home a day early. I remade camp but as minimally as possible so it would be easy to pack in the morning. After some more internet/photo work I watched a movie then went to bed. During the night it started to snow. It had snowed a few days earlier but my tent had been under a tree and was fine but this time it practically collapsed so at around 2:30am I packed up and sleet the few remaining hours of night in the car. I didn't want to drive in the snow in the dark and wanted to see if there were nice photos to be had in the morning. So I don't know when to transition to the next days journal so these two will be combined. My alarm went off at 5:45 just before sunrise. I got up got my hiking shoes on and stepped outside. Everything was snowy but even worse slushy. There were quite a few inches of snow/slush on the ground and many puddles. It was very beautiful so I started driving out of the valley intoning to stop at tunnel view and make some photos. I stopped a few times for photos but then ran into a sign saying that I needed chains to go up to tunnel view. Upset that my wonderful snowy sunrise valley photo with mist was ruined I drove through the valley stopping to photograph regularly. On a side note these three peaks, the three brothers, were beautifully lit but I couldn't find a good view of them :( I then stopped to see if the visiter center was open yet, around 7am, to check on road conditions before I tried to drive out of the valley. It was closed but I drove down the road a little to where there is a sign saying what roads out of the valley are in what conditions, It said that all the roads required chains. That really bummed me out so I went back and parked and will now go check out the visiter center when it opens, 9am, and see when the road will open. I am hoping it will be later today after they have time to plow and the sun comes out otherwhys I don't know what my plan will be. Well in the time it took for the visitor center to open the nain road out of the valley opened so now I am on my way.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Weather and other Cool Stuff

Rivers and Falls

Here is a small collection of my river and water fall photos.

Yosemite Valley

I spent a lot of time getting photos ready for ordering prints that I will display and sell at graduation. It also provided me with a bunch of photos ready for the blog so here are a few of them. These are my favorites of Yosemite Vally and Half Dome.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Life goes on, but now the end is in sight

Day 19 5/13

Well lets see about today. I have started my attack on Yosemite Valley trying to experience as much of it as possible. I woke up at 5am took a sunrise walk to lower yosemite falls, and around the area. Then I ate breakfast at 7:30am around hours earlier then I have been getting up. Followed by a couple more hours of sleep. Then I spent over an hour exploring/trying to find free wifi, I ended up finding some a good length shuttle ride away. Then I made and ate lunch and started on my big hike of the day. I unfortunately started in the hottest part of the day but once I got high enough it got cool. I hiked to upper yosemite falls. The trail climbs around 900m(3000 feet) in about 6km(4miles) one way. It was a very steep exhausting climb but very energizing and beautiful. I also got some time at the top to sit and read my book. I timed the hike so that I would have nice evening/sunset light on the walk back down and spent a pleasant time at an overlook most of the way down the slope. Then it was dinner time and then I drove out to tunnel lookout to make some night photographs of the valley. Next is bedtime, nice warm comfy bed and sleep. 

Day 20 5/14

This morning I took a nice early sunrise walk. I unfortunately just missed some nicely colored clouds over half dome but I did get to see a coyote. I also checked out the cute chapel they have here. It is very heavily photographed and I have looked at many of it but I noticed that the trees are a lot bigger now then in most of the photographs I have seen. After taking the day relatively easily I took another walk. I have again been in a photo motivation low point but gained some of it back on this hike which started out great will all sorts of neat things to photograph, I have noticed when I am not motivated I go micro, but then the I lost the trail and had to hike along the road for awhile then found the trail again only to realize that it was totally wet and muddy in many places. All in all I was low sprites when I got back to the car but I decided I still wanted to go check out under the falls that I had goon by earlier. I had started up the trail when someone warned me that it really rained on you farther up. I decided to wait on that stop so that I wouldn't be wet the whole hike. I then went there right before returning to camp and boy was it fun the trail was a river higher then my ankles and cold and the fall just rained on you. Many sections of trail here get misted on by the many falls but this was like way more it was pouring. I managed to make a couple photographs trying to have my camera out of the ziplock as little time as possible but was very wet and exhilarated going back to the car, o and a little COLD. I ended up getting detoured on the way back to camp by some cool clouds over half dome that I had to photograph even though it was already full night. Finally I got in dry clothes, ate some warm soup, and finished off my smore's with my camping mates. 

Day 21 5/15

Today it snowed. I woke up and decided to not take a sunrise walk since it was cold, snowing and there was no sun to rise. I ended up staying in the tent till almost noon reading and staying comfy and photo-less. I ventured out for a brief stint and got some neat photos but am now kicking myself for not taking advantage of all the amazing photo opportunities. But I did have a good morning not being out in the cold inclement weather. Staying in the tent so late shortened the day considerably but I still managed to take ashore hike, get some neat pictures of the stormy snow covered area, and sometimes brief openings of almost sunshine. Now I am inside warm and working on the computer trying to get ready to send in a big photo order so that I can have prints ready for graduation. I unfortunately don't feel like I caught up very much, or at all, and now am going to head out and see what photos are to be had before it gets dark.  

Help Support My Photography

To purchase prints of my work please visit my site linked above,, or email me at All proceeds go directly to this photography trip to Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks.