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.

Friday, April 29, 2011

More Journals

Day 5 4/28

Well "today" I didn't journal at all because it was a nice realizing rest day. But now, tomorrow, I am journaling for "today" LOL. It was a great rest day well deserved after all the driving. I slept in late, took a walk, read, ate lunch, napped, took another walk, ate dinner, walked to where I made my evening photos, ate smores over a campfire, went to bed. That was about everything I did, all of it in a very relaxed state and most importantly never starting the car. 

Day 6 4/29

Today, yes I am writing this on the correct day, I dropped David off at the bus station after getting an oil change and restocking on perishables. David was not looking forward to the 2.5 days on busses ahead of him. He departed from Fresno which from all I saw of it is a pretty low life city where spanish is spoken and much as english. Both David and I thought it felt more like a different country not a city in the USA. After that I drove back to the park, glade to leave the city, and made camp in a parking lot. There is from 15 feet to a few bare patches of snow up where I am spending my next few days and the campground is "closed" so we are all ether digging a hole to camp in, sleeping in cars, or in the parking lot. I cooked and ate dinner in the middle of what usually is a two lane road and then went and photographed the giant redwoods around sunset. Unfortunately the clouds covered the sun so there went many great colors but the low even light was still nice for some shots. Finally I came to the lodge to work on the endless task of organizing and editing photos and doing internet stuff. 

Windmills, lots of them

We saw many windmills on our drive in one spot in particular there were literally thousands all along the valley and the mountains going up the California valley. I would encourage you to click on the panorama and take a closer look at it in larger form.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Day 4 !!!SNOW!!!

Today we woke up early and immediately took a walk along the river next to camp. There were many beautiful sights and I made many photos although will be going back later to get ones in better light. We then drove up the mountain through a long construction zone and got to the place that originally we were going to camp at. Lodgepole is at 6700 feet and under 5-20 feet of snow. There is camping but it is on top of many feet of snow. They got a record snowfall this winter 457" or about 38 feet of snowfall :-O. It is very beautiful and the giant redwoods are amazing. It is now almost 4pm and we are taking a break and using the internet at a lodge up at around 8000 feet.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Day 2-3 More Driving and some scenic stops

Day 2 4/25

Today we drove all day starting shortly after sunrise. we covered much ground and went through some nice desert mountains. We drove by a cow feed lot, through texas, oklahoma, new mexico and into arizona. We stopped at petrified forest national park and drove through it stopping to make some pictures along the way. It was very amazing and beautiful. We then decided to make a detour and drove up to the Grand Canyon and camped out.

Day 3 4/26

Today we got up with the sun, broke camp and went to the south rim of the grand canyon. We wandered around taking in the magnificent sights and making many photos. We saw many elk and some deer all of which are very used to humans so we were able to get really close. Now we are cooking diner for breakfast, since we are always to tired to cook in the evening, on the very edge of the grand canyon with a amazing view and just simply an amazing place to be and eat breakfast. One other note that we both have noticed is how many different languages are being spoken by the people here, in fact most seem to be speaking some other language than english.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Day 1 starting to drive

I am trying to journal about every day and hope to include photos but am having a hard time keeping up with the organizing and editing. The trip is going great and I will upload new posts as I am able. It is really crazy but so far, even driving most of the time, I am making 200-500 photos a day which will be more then how much will fit on my hard drive if I keep it up all month. Enjoy

I finally started out on my trip. I am very excited and looking forward to all the great adventures I will have. Today started out busy with last minute packing. After starting out on the road just past Des Moines I followed the 2 lane road which turned out to not be I-80 that I wanted to follow, we didn't discover this till hours later. So my trip started out with a mistake that has turned out to be a blessing. we altered our rout and are now going to CA via the deep south. It has helped the nights to be warmer and provided some really amazing environments to drive through. I was really impressed and enthralled by one section where it was literally over 50 miles of these huge ranches. It was amazing hilly grassland and it went on and on and on with no fences. There were thousands of cows in little herds all along the way but other then that it was the largest area of total undevelopment that I have ever seen. We had a good end to the day finding a city park to camp in directly off the road we were taking. 

Thursday, April 14, 2011


 Todays topic is mood and how to use it in photography. This really is the catch all category and there is no way I can cover it all here. I will touch on a few of the concepts I read about and hope you understand the complexity of it all. Colors have a great effect on what emotions are associated with an image. Photographing in unusual weather can provide unique atmospheres. A big thing with all of this is knowing your area. Knowing how the light looks and where it lands durring the morning and evening hours. Knowing the moon cycle so you can know where it will rise and set and can frame your picture appropriately. Then of course there are all the effects you can use to show motion by blurring or freezing or creating lines. Most importantly know your subject and try to photograph it in unique new ways that really show the emotions you have around it. 

Monday, April 11, 2011

Where To Go? Muir

For one day excursions Muir suggests hiking to glacier point or to the upper yosemite falls. Both provide a wonderful spectrum of views for the amount of time. For and overnight adventure he suggests you go to Mount Hofman spend the night then go to May and Tenaya lakes. For a longer three day trip do the same as the two day but then go through Tuolumne Meadows and spend a night on Mount Dana. Finally the really truly best excursion would take 2-3 weeks and is best done in June. This hike would take you all over the mountains in the upper Tuolumne area. He describes many beautiful sites to see including glaciers, lakes, and absolutely mountains. Beyond these there are many short trips that can be made from the valley to all types of wonderful and amazing places. Yosemite is thought of as a unique wonder but right next to it is Hetch Hetchy Valley which is very similar in how it was formed and the characteristics it displays.

Composition, Continued

Some other things I worked on were lined and how they affect an image. In both these examples lines are the dominating feature. In the one above they are dark and contrast with the snow they also radiate out from the tree drawing your eyes through the image. In the second one the lines move you from the base of the image off into the distance.


After light composition is probably the next most important element of photography. There are some basic "rules" that are good to consider but to be a good photographer you must also know when to break the rules. The most widely known rule is the rule of thirds although it is actually based on the golden mean, 1.62, which is a scientific ration that is supposedly the most appealing. It has been simplified to the "rule of thirds." Pretty much you split the frame into thirds horizontally and vertically and try to place the subject of focus of the image on the intersects. Here are some examples of following this rule.
There are also some examples of when I didn't follow the rule and that was a good thing.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Glacial Formation, Muir

The whole area of Yosemite valley was shaped and formed by glaciers. Muir relates them to rivers. rivers of massive size and frozen solid. They move and flow like water but at a dramatically slower pace. They are bigger then a river ever could be one being over 10 miles long and 1000 feet deep. And finally they are frozen meaning they can scrap at the stones in a different fashion then water wears away at it.

The South Dome, Muir

Muir describes one particular peak in Yosemite, the south dome. it has shear cliffs on ether side rising 1600  feet. on the remaining two sides it it a steeply slanting arc. On one of these sides one can climb up to 600 feet below the top but farther ascent would need anchors to be drilled into the rock. In 1875 George Anderson drilled those holes and was the first person to make it to the top. The top appears to be clear but once reached has a few struggling clumps of trees. This dome is one of the grandest and is still unreachable.

Birds, Muir

As well as grand stones, grand trees, and grand flowers there are grand birds. There are birds like you would see at your own bird feeder robins, jays. Geese try to fly over the stone faces of Yosemite but have some trouble. "Yosemite magnitudes seem to be as deceptive to geese as to men, for after circling to a considerable height and forming regular harrow-shaped ranks they would suddenly find themselves in danger of being dashed against the face of the cliff, much nearer the bottom that the top" (161). Muir talkes about a pair of rare golden eagles that lived in the valley. I hope they or their decedents still live in the valley but think it unlikely. Surprisingly the bird life in Yosemite is much the same as elsewhere, with the exception of the golden eagles.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Yosemite Flowers, Muir

Today I read about the flowers in Yosemite. Muir writes about how the flowers used to rule the valley before farmers came in and plowed it all. FLowers still fill the area but not to the same extent. I am overwhelmed by the detail with which Muir talkes about everything In his book. It is almost too much to take in. For example he writes with colorful language about all the flowers and their habitat and shape and smell and and and... An example of this is "Of the lily family, fritillaria, smilacina, chlorogalum and several fine species of brodiea, Ithuriel's spear, and others less prized are common, and the favorite calochortus, or Mariposa lily, a unique genus of many species, something like the tulips of Europe but far finer" (149).

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.