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Our Yosemite Adventure – Seattle Travel Photographer

I’m not even sure where to begin…Yosemite National Park has been in my sights for a few years but it wasn’t until last year that I said to Alicia “We’re going” and set a date. I had visited Yosemite when I was probably 13 years old. I went with my Dad and my Sister as well as my Great Uncle. I remember it, but I most remember being far too young to really grasp it and enjoy it in the same manner I was able to on this recent trip.

This is probably the longest actual vacation I’ve had in my adult life up to now (excluding touring with my old bands which I still always considered work due to being the “Band Dad”). We started planning our trip about a year ago and figured out the best way to make it down to the park quickly and without having to blow money on hotels. We were able to shack up with some family on the way down which really helped split up the drive. Our trip started from Tacoma and included a stopover in Medford, OR and finally our destination of Sonora, CA. We decided to stay with some of my family who live about 1.5 hours away from the Hwy 120 entrance to Yosemite, the drive was a bit of an inconvenience (especially after a long day in the park) but I was happy to be able to visit with family I rarely get to see.

Here’s our trip from beginning to end! I hope you enjoy and I’ll be providing a follow up post with some of the shots I took on my film cameras once I get them developed and scanned!

Prints of my landscape shots can be found here: https://taylorjonesphoto.smugmug.com/Prints/

Film shots from the trip can be found HERE.

We started our trek by leaving Tacoma, WA around 8am. We plowed through WA and almost all of OR pretty quickly making minimal stops. Oregon has rest stops in some pretty locations!

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Once we made it the Medford, OR area we got to visit with Alicia’s brother and his fam (as well as their dogs!) We stayed the night here and got up bright and early to get back on the road and make it down to Sonora, CA.

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This is just across the California border. Mt Shasta was looking massive but the top was completely obscured by clouds so unfortunately I couldn’t snag a shot of it. This valley was gorgeous though and the clouds were very dramatic. We hit a pretty solid wall of rain not too far from where these were taken.

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Another scenic rest stop with awesome trees and killer light.

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First day in the Valley! Our first day was a bit hectic since it was on a Sunday and the park is a madhouse on the weekends. Traffic was intense and not very much fun to have to sit in for 1.5hrs just to get out of the park. That being said, we came without any sort of plan for the day and just took as it was. Tried to stay out of the car and just enjoy the sights from the Valley floor.

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Second day in the park got off to a great start. We made a stop at Cathedral Beach to get some shots along the Merced River. The water is damn cold and moves a lot faster than it might appear. The banks of the river drop off sharply into the deep channel the river has carved over time. I brought along all of my camera equipment from this day on and it was a pain to haul my Pentax 67 around due it’s size and weight but I am so excited to see how the shots came out. I’m sure it was worth it. We also stopped in and checked out The Awahnee  Majestic Yosemite Hotel (ugh, I cringe saying it) and admired the beautiful details in the architecture. It truly is the best example of National Park architecture. Rustic yet ornate. And also the inspiration for the interiors for the movie The Shining (which happens to be one of my favorite movies ever!)

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Yosemite is prone to wildfires, as are most wild places. But the interesting thing about the fires in the park are that the native Sequioa trees require fire to sow their seeds. The evidence of fire is apparent throughout Yosemite, just last year The Rim Fire destroyed nearly 200,000 acres of forest in and around the park. Fires can certainly be man made but they are more often than not a natural occurence. The signs of natural change in the area is abundant, this place has survived on it’s own for centuries without human involvement and will continue to do so once we’re all gone.

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It’s a little challenging to get a good shot of El Capitan from the valley floor without wide angle lenses (which I typically avoid using). El Cap is a 3,000+ ft tall solid chunk of granite. The biggest in the world.

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Obligatory Tunnel View shots. I took my Pentax and hiked up a hill away from the crowds to get some more unique viewpoints, I’ll share those once I get my film developed.

 

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A storm started moving in from the East and you can see Half Dome covered in clouds and getting rained on in the distance.

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We spent an evening on top of Sentinel Dome. I wanted to catch the sunset, shoot some stars and then camp out to catch some early light the next day. We were treated to 360 degree panoramic views from close to 3000 ft above the Valley floor. We didn’t stay all that late but late enough to shoot some stars, the moon was nearly full and it was casting our shadows on the solid granite dome we were on top of. We camped in the back of my Outback and woke up at 4:30a to catch the sunrise at Tunnel View.

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Alicia sitting against the famous fallen Jeffrey Pine tree.

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Sun setting behind El Capitan.

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On our last day in the park we had breakfast at The Awahnee, which is one of the few things I remember clearly about my first trip to Yosemite when I was a young teen. Glad I got to share the experience with Alicia. Their menu isn’t vegan friendly at a glance but if you get creative with their side options you can make yourself a very filling meal!
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Arguably the best view in the park is from Glacier Point.

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UPDATE 08/10/16: The photos I shot on film can be found HERE!

2 comments
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  • Trish JonesJune 1, 2016 - 5:13 pm

    Beautiful photos! Thanks for sharing!!
    Can not wait to see more!ReplyCancel

  • Virginia JonesJune 2, 2016 - 1:38 pm

    Fabulous Taylor, I saw more in your pictures than I saw on three trips to the park by far. I’m very impressed. I liked the dog pictures also. You got it kid.ReplyCancel

  • Cammie MayJune 3, 2016 - 8:54 pm

    Great Pictures!!!
    Thanks for sharingReplyCancel

  • Cammie MayJune 3, 2016 - 8:55 pm

    Great Pictures!!!
    Thanks for sharingReplyCancel

 

Taylor Jones Photo

Serving Seattle/Tacoma and the PNW

Taylor Jones Photo

Serving Tacoma, Seattle and the Northwest