Valley Portal

I made this photograph on Monday, December 7, during a beautiful winter storm in Yosemite Valley (see this post for more info). Frankly, I haven’t worked in such poor conditions for some time! When I first spied this scene, it was windy and snowing heavily. I did not let this stop me from setting up the camera, yet for nearly an hour following the setup, I fought to expose a sheet of film. The snow was deep; my dark cloth was blowing around; my ground glass and lens kept fogging; snow kept landing on the front element of the lens; I was covered in snow; and ultimately, it was simply snowing too heavily to make the photograph I had hoped to make. But I couldn’t quit it, as the idea of this image gnawed at me. So I fought the conditions for an hour, using randomly placed expletives along the way, and finally got my negative exposed. And then the idea of the image once again bugged me and bugged me until I finally got the chance to develop film a couple of days ago.

And now I am at peace. When I have business to attend to and can’t get away, this photograph will serve as my magical portal to the Happiest Place on Earth.

Happy Holidays, folks! Thanks for staying tuned to my blog during 2009!

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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Freeze or Burn

California Happy Cow?

Happy Cow?

I’m just back from a week of touring and photographing Central California (apparently where Happy Cows reside), from the mountains to the plains to the sea.

Snow Flowers

Snow Flowers

My journey began in the Tehachapi Mountains and then into the southern Sierra Nevada (near Lake Isabella), where my first night’s bivouac was in a raging windstorm preceded by an ominous looking sunset. Considering that it is mid-April here in sunny southern California, I wasn’t expecting sub-freezing temperatures, a gale, and to awake to new snow. But that’s exactly what happened.

Amber Waves

Amber Waves

From there I crossed the great Central Valley (much of the nation’s foodbasket) and on into the Carrizo Plain, where I was again met with freezing temperatures, but watched a beautiful sunrise unfold across San Andreas Fault-created topography.

Bucolic California Oaks and Hills

Bucolic California Oaks and Hills

I ended up along the central coast, enjoying a couple of days camped at the beautiful Montana De Oro State Park outside San Luis Obispo.

In keeping with odd weather, I returned home to Long Beach in record-breaking temperatures (97f). I’m feeling particularly tired and beat up at the moment, but I’m going to attribute it to having the life heat-sucked out of me over the last few days, and experiencing 60+ degree temperature swings over the last week.

And we’re supposed to have stable and predicable weather here in California!

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

Canyon Live Oak trees – Santa Ana Mountains

Canyon Live Oak trees (Quercus chrysolepis) - Santa Ana Mountains, California

Canyon Live Oak trees (Quercus chrysolepis) - Santa Ana Mountains, California


Canyon Live Oak trees (Quercus chrysolepis) – Santa Ana Mountains, California. Sometime in 2008.

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