It was freezing but who gives a…

It was the first time I visited Yosemite National Park in Northern California, and I must thank my parents and wife for that.

My parents came to visit, my wife and I, from Israel to see us getting married on our awesome wedding day (a story for another day). I took a couple of weeks off work and we went on a long, fun, road trip. A must for any photographer.

We had a very long car ride from Las Vegas to the entrance of Yosemite National Park. The drive was about 7 hours with a couple of stops.

So let’s see what happened on the way. While still in Nevada, I got a speeding ticket for driving 10 mph over the speed limit when the road was completely empty (But it’s ok. The police are doing their job), we drove through a road with huge, but small, hills that made you feel like you’re getting into air pockets when you’re flying. We have seen the landscape change drastically every few miles (not all the way though). We took some selfies, listened to the radio, argued, laughed, sang, were quiet, stopped to eat and drink, slept, woke up, slept again, woke up again… Just the ordinary family road trip routines.

The plan was to drive to San Francisco and to go through Yosemite National Park but time went by and it was already 5pm. We got to Lee Vining, a small town which resides next to Mono Lake – a big lake that was formed about 760,000 years ago, according to Wikipedia – where we turned left to stop at a gas station and continue driving according to signs that pointed to Yosemite National Park. We drove for 20 minutes and decided to go back to the town and find a motel or hotel to spend the night.

That night we had a nice warm dinner at the only open restaurant in town – the food was pretty good and the portions were large. Great clam chowder – because we were hungry, you know?!

The morning after, I woke up at around 5am to catch the sunrise over Mono Lake – different photos for a different story – and all I will say is that I ended up shooting for 2.5 hours from one spot. When I was done I drove back to the room so we could get ready for our next long drive.

Mono Sunrise Panoramic
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Mono Sunrise Panoramic

When you drive that rode you’re basically going up through mountains so you get to altitudes of 6,000 and 9,000 feet which makes for a colder environment, thus some mountains are covered with snow.

The beauty of Yosemite started before we even had a chance to get to the actual park entrance.

Yosemite Blackwhite
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The view changed every few feet. Some mountains looked like boulders and some looked like “regular” mountains, some were covered with snow, some were green with grass and trees while some were dry and brown. I took so many pictures. It’s just ridiculous.

When we finally got to the gate we had to pay $20 (if I remember correctly) and then the landscape was even more mesmerizing. Down the majestic mountains are lakes and rivers with the clearest water. It was so cold outside but we didn’t care. We got out of the car so many times to take photos, especially me. I told my dad to stop almost every 2 minutes because of the pace the landscape was changing.

Finally we got in front of this one white mountain with shades of brown and a few trees on it. The snowy mountain rose above a lake that was half-frozen and half-flowing. I have never seen something like that before. It was absolutely marvelous. Camera in hand, freezing fingers, half click down, focused, captured!

Half and Half
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Half and Half

I have to go and spend more time there… wouldn’t you?

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