Wednesday, December 09, 2009

First Snow of 2009 in Yosemite

Watching the weather with excitement and knowing that there will be snow in Yosemite, it was almost impossible to make arrangements to get there on Tuesday. A rental SUV was not in my current budget, other photographer friends could not make it…..My only real option was to ask my daughter in law and my son to swap cars for a day. They have a Toyota 4-runner. Yeahhhhh and thank you my dear family! I carefully planned around not going during the storm, since I could not stay overnight. I choose to take highway 140 and my trip started at 3:45AM, because I figured with the low snow levels and the freeze warnings I needed extra driving time. I saw the first signs of frost on highway 99 and slowed down. I saw evidence of snow and ice starting in Merced. There was even reminiscence of snow in the Merced River Canyon; I never seen that before.

My first image of the day was to shoot the snow covered Yosemite Chapel. When entering the park the temperature was 11°F. Arrived at the Chapel just before 8AM, set up the camera and…. I had equipment failure….eh I mean people failure, my camera was locked into an f-stop of 5.6 and nothing I could do would change that. Thinking it was the cold, I was mad and disappointed at the same time, all this planning and my camera was messed up. What a great start! I switched over to my other cameras and took a couple of images. A lot of the snow had already slipped off of the Chapels roof and the oak tree had lost some of it due to wind the night before.

From here I drove to the Yosemite Village and parked the 4-runner for a while to calm down and check my camera again. What I found was that it was ME causing this lock-up. I pressed a button on the camera that locks the f-stop, dah. Happy again, I started driving the loop and found all kinds of photo ops. I love taking images of the snow covered trees and the partially frozen Merced River. As I was making my way through the park, one of my stops was – you guessed it – the iconic Gates of the Valley. Here I finally met Edie Howe a photographer living in Yosemite. We had been in contact via twitter and flickr, but managed to miss each other when I visited Yosemite. I just yelled hey Edie, Inge here… and we hit it off like we knew each other for years. I followed her to a few of her favorite spots. Fell once in the snow, but Edie was very helpful and I enjoyed every moment with this talented photographer.


Winter Yosemite Valley View – December 8, 2009. © Copyright Inge Fernau .


Winter Wonderland – El Capitan Meadow – Yosemite national Park – December 8, 2009. © Copyright Inge Fernau .

The sky at the Gates of the Valley was bright blue; not a cloud in sight. But I was told that things can change quickly and sure enough by the time sunset rolled around, clouds came in. Edie and I hooked up again for sunset at the Gates of the Valley. The area was crowded with other photographers waiting for the light. Some of them walked right into our frames. Around 4:20PM I had already given up – not listening to Edie – and packed it in. I hear her yelling something about the light. When I looked over, I saw the show. I hurried up and set up again, thanks to Edie I was able to get the magical light. Check out Edie’s collection of this moment Wait it out


Gates of the Valley in Blue – Yosemite national Park – December 8, 2009. © Copyright Inge Fernau .


Gates of the Valley waiting for the light – Yosemite national Park – December 8, 2009. © Copyright Inge Fernau .


Gates of the Valley show over so I thought - WRONG – Yosemite national Park – December 8, 2009. © Copyright Inge Fernau .

Made it back home around 8:40PM, tired and sore from all that driving, but completely excited with all the images I got to take with me. Winter in Yosemite is truly magical and it brings out the Christmas spirit of peace. Leaving all of you with the final image of the day and hope all of you have a Merry Christmas.


Magical Sunset in Winter Wonderland – Gates of the Valley – Yosemite national Park – December 8, 2009. © Copyright Inge Fernau .

These (digital) photographs are not in the public domain! They may not be used on websites, blogs, or in any other media, they may not be copied, printed or otherwise reproduced in any manner or form, whether in whole or in part without explicit advance written permission from Inge Fernau

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