Yosemite Valley SNOW!

(L to R) Large Format Photography workshop client David, and Michael

I had yet another private workshop last Saturday, this time in the Happiest Place on Earth: Yosemite Valley. I worked with David Okner on Large Format photography, helping him to gain control over view camera movements and teaching him my easy system of metering and exposure (no more bracketing or failed negatives!). We had a great day together, with David displaying a sense of wonderment (how could it be this easy?) and camera confidence by day’s end.

Yosemite Chapel in fresh snow, photo, picture

Yosemite Chapel in fresh snow

The first big winter storm of the season was slated to arrive after midnight on Sunday (and it’s not even yet winter!), so I stayed in The Valley and hoped to awake to snow on Monday. Sure enough, the National Weather Service nailed it. There were two inches of white stuff on the ground when I awoke, and by the time my coffee was ready, it had begun snowing again in earnest. By 4pm Monday – after a full day of non-stop snow – approximately one foot of new snow covered everything. It was absolutely beautiful, and there’s hardly a better place to enjoy a beautiful winter storm like this one.

photo, picture: Merced River, Yosemite Valley, snow, storm

Fresh snow on the Merced River, Yosemite Valley

Right around sunset I made the photograph at left and then decided to try to head home via Hwy 41/Wawona. It was a slow drive out, as it was snowing, foggy, icy – you name it. Driving conditions were challenging and required vigilance. Heading south on Hwy 99, I learned that Caltrans had closed both the Grapevine/I-5 and Hwy 58 to snow, so I did not make it home that night and drove back into the Sierra (southern) to find a place to bivouac and photograph in the morning 🙂

Thanks for a great workshop, David!

You are visiting the blog of fine art photographer Michael E. Gordon. For additional photos and information, please visit his official website.

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13 thoughts on “Yosemite Valley SNOW!

  1. Thanks, Richard. These are just the digitals. Wait until I develop my 4×5″ film 🙂

    I did not run into Jim. I wish I had known he was going to be there. In fact, I didn’t really run into anyone. This is a superbly quiet time of the year to be in The Valley!

  2. Lucky you! I drove into the Valley during a snowstorm in 2001 & stayed at the Ahwanhee for New Years. What a special time! We had snowshoes & went out as well as cross country skiing at Badger Pass. Now we go every year in late winter/early spring and camp in the valley when we have it practically to ourselves!

  3. I’ll second it was an amazing time to be in the valley. It is really unfortunate that we didn’t get a chance to cross paths. The chapel always looks amazing covered in snow. I looped back just before you took this photo while it was still snowing and I opted to pass on a second series of shots. I regret that now seeing your photo. I was concerned the footprints leading up to the chapel would be to noticeable… they’re not. The scene there was amazing during the earlier morning heavy snow fall.

    Sounds like a great workshop experience. Glad you got a chance to enjoy the snow even if it meant getting stranded because of the Grapevine closure. As for meeting in Yosemite…. next time.

  4. I’m sorry we didn’t cross, Jim.

    What’s funny is that I NEVER shoot stock or common stuff, but I could not pass up easy grabs of the chapel in those conditions. 🙂

    The Grapevine closure was fine by me, Jim! I got another morning shoot out of it (heavy snow on Joshua trees at Walker Pass).

    Next time we will meet!

  5. I am jealous. While you are out photography amazing places I’m stuck in a plan or an office somewhere not there. Can’t wait to see the 4×5 stuff when you get it developed.

    Take care,

    • Hi Karan: Yosemite Valley NEVER closes. However, if you do not have tire chains and a new storm lands, you may not be able to make it into or out of the The Valley. Travel prepared, and have fun!

  6. Pingback: Happy Holidays! « Michael E. Gordon Photography

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