Yosemite Nature Notes – Winter Moments
For the last days of 2011, my wife Athena and I headed from Yosemite Valley over the mountains to historic Benton Hot Springs to camp and soak. We went over Tioga Pass, down Lee Vining canyon and past Mono Lake, heading toward the north end of the White Mountains near the state line with Nevada. Tioga Pass, the highest paved road in the Sierra, is just under 10,000 feet, and on most years, the first snows of November will close the road for up to 7 months. Since Halloween however, I’ve made several of what I thought would be “one last” trips over Tioga Pass only to find that it never really snowed and it never really closed.
After a record breaking dry December, when no recorded precipitation fell in nearby Fresno, the pass is still open and Yosemite Valley has been enjoying sunny days in the high 50’s. Throughout the park, even up on 13,000 foot Mount Dana, there’s just not much snow in sight. Perhaps I chose the wrong year to make a Yosemite Nature Notes Special Feature about winter!
Thankfully, I’ve been shooting winters in Yosemite for a few years now on a variety of cameras, such as the Sony Z1, Canon A1, Sony V1U, & my current Sony EX1R. This new production was mainly an exercise in digging through tapes and hard-drives to find my best winter shots, and trying to match up this disparate footage with color correction and sharpening. Since I didn’t spend time shooting, I focused on the task at hand: creating a short, 3-minute art piece, basically a music video, that’s my Valentine to Yosemite winter lovers everywhere who are patiently waiting for the first flakes to fall.