Saturday, May 21, 2011

A Walk with Ansel on the Way Out (Yosemite Trip, Day 6)

Cook Meadow Apple Tree

Apple Tree, Cook Meadow.

(This is the last of a series of posts about our 2010 trip to Yosemite. See previous posts for Day 1, Day2, Day 3, Day 4, and Day 5.)

Our trip to Yosemite was drawing to a rapid close, with just one more morning left in the Park. Despirte dire warnings of marauding bears, speeding bears, and bears just generally up to mischief, we had not seen a single bear, recalcitrant or otherwise. Early in the morning, I was awakened by an odd sound behind our tent. It was sort of a muffled snuffling, that turned into a heavy grunt. It seemed to come closer and closer, deep and powerful, and increasingly loud. I was half-excited, and half terrified. Were we finally having a close encounter with a bear? ...No. As it turned out, the oddly rhythmical grunting was actually some truly impressive chain-snoring from the tent-cabin directly behind us. I would have sworn to you at the time it was a bear, though part of what made me realize it wasn't is that I can't imagine a black bear producing that heavy and loud of a sound....I was kind of scared to meet whoever it was whose body had managed to produce that cacophany.

I had signed up at the Ansel Adams Gallery for a photo walk in the morning. I suppose it was somewhat ironic to be taking the photo walk after spending an entire week photographing some of the most sweeping vistas in the park, but it seemed like a nice way to end the week. I drove over one last time to Cook Meadow, and met a few other intrepid folks for the walk. We set out with our leader through the morning dew on Cook meadow. The clouds that had dogged us all week were flitting in and out of the valley, cutting out a lot of the fantastic scenery at higher altitudesi.

Yosemite Falls with fall color

Bracken Ferns and Storm LightEnshrouded Valley Walls

Snag with Falls, Cook Meadow (B&W)Framed Snag

Cook Meadow Apple Tree (B&W)

Yosemite Falls with Fall Color, Bracken Ferns in Storm Light, Enshrouded Valley Walls, Snag with Falls, Framed Snag, Apple Tree – Cook Meadow

I wasn't expecting a great deal from a free photowalkii, but it turned out to be very pleasant. Our leader was very laid back in stereotypical California fashion, but turned us on to some great views and angles and was pretty fun to hang out withiii. We wound our way through the Meadow, and then over to a hidden maple tree, blazing with color, tucked behind a chapel. It was a great note to end the walk on.

Yosemite Falls (B&W)Bracken Ferns

Milkweed PodAnsel Adams Center Photowalk Guide

Fall Color, Chapel, Ansel Adams Photowalk

Yosemite Falls (B&W), Bracken Ferns, Milkweed Pod, Our Guide, Fall Color – Yosemite Chapel.

When I got back to the tent-cabin we reluctantly packed all our gear into the Chargeriv and headed out. It was an epic trip, even with equally epic rainstorms and the slightly disappointing levels of development and crowds in the Valley. Between reunions with old friends, spending time with family, and just the amazing environs, it'll be hard to top.

But of course that won't stop us from trying. Next stop, Iceland.


i I didn't mind too much...after a week of focus on the unbelievably large end of the scale, it was interesting to shift the focus to the smaller details.

iiThe Gallery offers a lot of photography workshops and guided tours at premium prices.

iiiThough there was one hillarious exchange with another of the attendees. Our guide had been telling us about how amazing Ansel Adam's Zone System for photography was. The attendee asked her what it was, and she kinda repeated what she had said, that it was amazing, that it was a revolutionary, without really saying what the Zone System was comprised of (i.e. it's a system by which light levels in different part of the frame are considered, etc etc), which was what he was getting at. This went back and forth a couple times with the same result. I finally offered up something like, “it deals with light levels in different parts of the frame, right?” or something like that, and saw an instant look fo relief on his face. It was kinda funny to watch two people completely talk past each other for such an extended period. It was “Who's on First?”, but with complicated photographic theory.

ivWhich, if I haven't mentioned it already, was about the worst rental for sightseeing. Not only did it handle like a bus at a nascar race, and its windows were like bunker slits.

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