100 Days of National Parks: Day 32 – Glacier Point, Yosemite National Park

Glacier Point

There are few sights more emblematic of the National Parks and the American wilderness in general than the view from the Glacier Point Overlook in Yosemite National Park. From the edge of the cliff, you can see almost 180 degrees of the Yosemite Valley, from Yosemite Falls to the west, over to Half Dome and Nevada Falls to the East, the expanse of the upper end of the Main Valley stretches out in front of you, and it’s hard not to be in awe of the view.

Read more…

Glacier Point

Glacier Point
Buy Print

There are few sights more emblematic of the National Parks and the American wilderness in general than the view from the Glacier Point Overlook in Yosemite National Park.  From the edge of the cliff, you can see almost 180 degrees of the Yosemite Valley, from Yosemite Falls to the west, over to Half Dome and Nevada Falls to the East, the expanse of the upper end of the Main Valley stretches out in front of you, and it’s hard not to be in awe of the view.

Continue reading “100 Days of National Parks: Day 32 – Glacier Point, Yosemite National Park”

100 Days of National Parks: Day 31 – Golden Bee, Joshua Tree National Park

Golden Bee

I’ve mentioned it before, but I love the perspective a macro lens gives you on the world, particularly when I walk by a flowering bush surrounded by buzzing bees. Normally, I avoid sticking my nose into the business of these industrious little pollinators, especially in the deserts of the southwest where they might be a little more aggressive than other bees. With a macro lens on my camera though, my usual hesitation towards getting close to these guys is pretty much wiped away, and I find myself sitting next to them, letting them crawl on my arms, lulled into a sense of calm by the steady hum of their buzzing, and the focus I find trying to frame up the perfect shot.

Read more…

Golden Bee

Golden Bee
Buy Print

I’ve mentioned it before, but I love the perspective a macro lens gives you on the world, particularly when I walk by a flowering bush surrounded by buzzing bees.  Normally, I avoid sticking my nose into the business of these industrious little pollinators, especially in the deserts of the southwest where they might be a little more aggressive than other bees.  With a macro lens on my camera though, my usual hesitation towards getting close to these guys is pretty much wiped away, and I find myself sitting next to them, letting them crawl on my arms, lulled into a sense of calm by the steady hum of their buzzing, and the focus I find trying to frame up the perfect shot.

Continue reading “100 Days of National Parks: Day 31 – Golden Bee, Joshua Tree National Park”

100 Days of National Parks: Day 20 – Mirror in the Merced, Yosemite

Mirror in the Merced

There is something profoundly peaceful about sitting on the banks of the Merced River in Yosemite Valley listening to the slow rush of water and staring out at the towering granite cliffs and domes that rise out of the valley floor. It’s impossible not to be captivated by the scenery, transfixed by your surroundings.

Read more…

Mirror in the Merced

Mirror in the Merced
Buy Print

There is something profoundly peaceful about sitting on the banks of the Merced River in Yosemite Valley listening to the slow rush of water and staring out at the towering granite cliffs and domes that rise out of the valley floor.  It’s impossible not to be captivated by the scenery, transfixed by your surroundings.

Continue reading “100 Days of National Parks: Day 20 – Mirror in the Merced, Yosemite”

100 Days of National Parks: Day 11 – Parting the Veil, Sequoia National Park

Parting the Veil

Parting the Veil
Buy Print

Mt. Whitney.

The tallest mountain in the lower 48 states.

In my years of hiking, I’ve always repeated the mantra, “Sometimes you beat the mountain, sometimes the mountain beats you.”  Whitney, that unassuming monolith at the southern end of the Sierra Nevada Mountains on the eastern edge of Sequoia National Park, is the one mountain that has truly beaten me.

In 2015, while descending the switchbacks on the western side of the mountain, after being turned back from a thunderstorm that swept in during my ascent, I picked up a stress fracture that ended my dreams of thru-hiking the Pacific Crest Trail that year.  It was a tough injury, more for the emotional and mental distress than for the physical hardships it caused.  I left Sequoia and the PCT that June defeated but determined to return, to beat the mountain that beat me so resoundingly.

“When defeat comes, accept it as a signal that your plans are not sound, rebuild those plans, and set sail once more toward your coveted goal.” – Napoleon Hill

When most people think of Sequoia National Park, they think of the big trees, with the mountains almost an afterthought, but so much staggering beauty is out there in the backcountry of the High Sierra, waiting to be explored.  Though daunting, these mountains are some of the most dramatic, beautiful examples of wilderness we have in the U.S.  I encourage everyone to get out and explore them some time, to find their own mountain they need to beat, I know I intend to.

100/100/100: Day 3 – Datura Bloom, Joshua Tree National Park

Datura Bloom

Beauty in our National Parks often comes in microcosm, the small things you notice amidst the grand vistas. Though this photo comes from Joshua Tree National Park in California, I first discovered the Sacred Datura on my first trip to Zion National Park in Utah, and I immediately became fascinated with this beautiful desert flower. Long known to native tribes for its strongly hallucinogenic qualities, it was used in many native american ceremonial rituals, including spiritual challenges and “vision quests,” as well as for its medicinal qualities as an anesthetic. The visions its roots and seeds induce are often dark, sometimes deeply disturbing, and have been reported to stay with the user for days or longer. It is truly representative of the desert, beautiful on the surface, but extremely dangerous.
When closed, its blossoms resemble a pinwheel, or the aperture of a camera, and it’s this resemblance, along with its vision-causing abilities, that made me choose it as a symbol for my photography business. It’s my favorite flower, and it’s in full bloom throughout the southwest at this time of year. Get out and find one, and appreciate the beauty of this dangerous plant.

Datura Bloom

Datura Bloom
Buy Print

Beauty in our National Parks often comes in microcosm, the small things you notice amidst the grand vistas.  Though this photo comes from Joshua Tree National Park in California, I first discovered the Sacred Datura on my first trip to Zion National Park in Utah, and I immediately became fascinated with this beautiful desert flower.  Long known to native tribes for its strongly hallucinogenic qualities, it was used in many native american ceremonial rituals, including spiritual challenges and “vision quests,” as well as for its medicinal qualities as an anesthetic.  The visions its roots and seeds induce are often dark, sometimes deeply disturbing, and have been reported to stay with the user for days or longer.  It is truly representative of the desert, beautiful on the surface, but extremely dangerous.

When closed, its blossoms resemble a pinwheel, or the aperture of a camera, and it’s this resemblance, along with its vision-causing abilities, that made me choose it as a symbol for my photography business.  It’s my favorite flower, and it’s in full bloom throughout the southwest at this time of year.  Get out and find one, and appreciate the beauty of this dangerous plant.