Friday, January 20, 2012

Wide Angle World

Taking pictures with a wide angle lens is more fun!  My new camera is another Canon (of course!) PowerShot SX40 HS.  The lens is 24 to 840 mm.  This is my first wide angle ever and I didn't know what I was missing!  

So, I've been experimenting;  walking down a trail and trying to guess where to stop to take shot.  More often than not I stop way too far out to fill the frame with the wide angle lens.  It usually takes a couple stops until the subject does fill the frame.  Pretty soon I hope to get the hang of it!

One day I hiked late in the afternoon on the Carson Creek trail at Glory Hole on Melones Reservoir.  Love the fading light on the oaks.

Another day on the Heron Point trail at Tuttle Town, also on Melones, with beautiful big manaznitas.

The trail systems at both locations are through oak grasslands.  So cool to get so close to the ancient oaks.

A spur off the Carson Creek trail is accessible as the water elevation decreases.  Another opportunity to test the wide angle!  

 (The 840 mm is another story.  It's a challenge to hold steady.  I've been practicing on birds and considering another blog to use as a record of those attempts.  And maybe as a bird list too. Ummmm)

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Yosemite Hike

The weather was still holding and the destination was North Dome and/or Indian Arch Rock.   This was a new trail for me.  With mostly a southern exposure, the trail was clear for the most part. The temps were in the mid 40s in the morning and closer to mid 50s by mid day.  

This little bonsai was soaking in the winter sunshine.  Last January it was probably under 15 feet of snow!

There are only a couple water crossings on this trail.  The first was kinda intimidating!  While the ice was really thick,  it was also very slippery.

In the heavy forest there are some patches of ice and frozen snow on the trail.  Not so bad going up hill, but watch down coming back down.  I was really glad to have hiking poles to assist!

Once up on top the trail continues along Indian Ridge with great views of the valley walls.

The trail turns off to the east and into the trees at the end of Indian Ridge, but not before this fantastic view of North Dome.  This was my turn around point; it's probably another 1 1/2 miles down to the Dome from here.  But I wanted to see Indian Rock.

Returning north on the trail I got my first glimpse of the Arch in the distance through the trees.

The trail to Arch climbs steeply and offers more great views of Half Dome and Sentinel Dome in the distance.  (Of course, Half Dome is spectacular from the North Dome trail too,  but my pics from there, not so much!).

I stopped part way up the hill for lunch.  Noticing tiny acorns on the ground I was looking around for an oak tree.  Then realized they were from low growing alpine oak like bushes.
Without the acorn I would have assumed they were manaznita.    

The Indian Rock formation is massive; still, it seems very fragile!  

This was a hard hike;  close to 8 miles at 8000 feet elevation, but oh soooo worth it!

Monday, January 2, 2012

New Year's Day in Yosemite

The signs on the highway said the passes were open and a call to Yosemite road conditions confirmed 'no restrictions on any of the park roads.    What?!?    On New Year's Day?     No snow in the Sierra Nevada so far this winter has resulted in this unique opportunity to visit Tenaya Lake and Tuolumne Meadows with a drive up Tioga Pass on New Year's Day.

Adventure Pal P and I loaded up my Rav with winter layers and equipment only to find temperatures hovering in the high 40s to low 50s with bright sunshine.  It was almost surreal to be at 8000 feet elevation in shirt sleeves in January!  

Our first stop was Olmstead Point to catch a glimpse of Tenaya Lake.  (The park removes the interpretive signs in the winter; didn't know that).

Lots of people along the shore of Tenaya Lake, walking dogs, sitting in the sun;  AND ON THE LAKE.....  ice skaters,  a couple hockey players, many slip, sliding around, and even a remote control monster truck!

I got brave enough to go out a few feet so P could snap this shot.  But no walking across the lake for this California girl!

There was a weird low rumble from the ice; maybe an echo from the ice skaters?  And all these cool vertical frozen bubbles.

On to Tuolumne Meadows where we parked and climbed a ways up the face of Lembert Dome to sit in the sun.  (And take advantage of gnarled trees to try the wide angle of my new camera).

The day was just too perfect not to do a hike so after grabbing a snack we took off up the trail along the Dana Fork.  There was some snow, but not enough to worry.  The river was spectacular with only a couple small pools of open water.

We made one last stop at Tenaya Lake on our way back down the mountain.  The late afternoon sun created the illusion that these folks were walking on water!

According to, who have been keeping records since 1933,  the other two late closures of Tioga Pass happened on December 29, 1976 and January 1, 1999.   Wonder how long it will be open into 2012?  Not long I hope!