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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Happy Holidays!

photo, picture: Yosemite Chapel, Yosemite Valley, Yosemite National Park, snowstorm, Christmas, snow,

Yosemite Chapel, Yosemite Valley

I wish you and your loved ones a very Happy Holidays with best wishes for prosperity and good health in the coming year. May your 2010 be joyful!

Download a large desktop version of this photograph by clicking the thumbnail at left. Simply right-click (Mac: ctrl-click) and select ‘Set as Desktop Background’ to save it to your desktop. Enjoy!

On December 7, 2009, I placed myself in Yosemite Valley for the arrival of California’s first winter storm of the season (see my previous post for more). And boy was it a good one! I awoke at my campsite in Upper Pines to two inches of snow, and by the time my coffee was ready (home roasted! mmm…), it began snowing again in earnest and would not let up until after 4pm.

The Valley received at least a foot of snow from this storm, and it was magical. I was alone, the roads were deserted, and all was quiet in that beautiful world. Around midday I found the Yosemite Chapel in these beautiful conditions and couldn’t resist pointing my camera at it. You can see the snow streaking across the frame if you look at the Chapel facade.

If you ever get the chance to experience a snowfall in the Valley, do it. It feels like one of those once-in-alifetime experiences.

I sincerely Thank You for your continued support of and interest in my work!

Michael

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

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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