Thursday, June 5, 2014


Half Dome
Getty Museum
No matter how sophisticated you may be, a large granite mountain cannot be denied - it speaks in silence to the very core of your being.  
--Ansel Adams (1902-1984) photographer.

I ventured out west at the end of May to visit family and explore as much of California as I could in 10 days. And there was so much to explore... Los Angeles, Yosemite, Sequoia, San Francisco, the Pacific Coast Highway.... If you'll indulge me, I'd like to take a break from my Appalachian adventures and share some photos from my trip during the next few days. 

Yosemite Falls
Within the sprawling and magnificent Getty Museum in Los Angeles (above left) was a small, temporary exhibit of some of Ansel Adam's best work. I was familiar with most of the images. But had never seen any of his actual prints, just reproductions. Seeing them in person, I was blown away. They are bold, with over-the-top punchy contrast and dramatic light. And yet, in the midst of this drama, there are subtle, gentle details and a sense of quiet power. While I expected them to be fun to see, I didn't expect them to be breathtaking. 

El Capitan
So driving into Yosemite, I was inspired. But we drove in around 10:30, with bright sun and blue skies. A pretty day to be sure, but not the dramatic light or interesting atmospherics found in Adams' work. Fortunately we arrived before most of the throngs of visitors, so that helped. Given our demanding schedule in California, I didn't get to hike very much or see everything within Yosemite. But what I saw that day was magical. The Yosemite Valley surrounds you with imposing, mammoth granite walls. I wasn't prepared for the sheer scope of everything. It's all so monumental. I'll share more California images tomorrow.

Rafting on the Merced River

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