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Yosemite Nature Notes – Winter Moments

2012 January 4
by YosemiteSteve

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.


4 Responses
  1. Daren permalink
    January 5, 2012

    Great job on the video. The one winter I lived in the valley (2001 into 2002) there was a ton of great snow. I felt so lucky to have a good snow winter that year. As a San Diego kid I loved the snow and how it quieted the valley. Sitting here in a cubical in San Diego and 85 degree weather outside, its great to have an escape to a winter that all of us should be lucky enough to experience.

    Now if only I could find a job in or near the park then I could go all the time. Well in reality I’d have to convince my fiance who is a desert girl to move up to the mountains. One can dream…..

  2. Brian permalink
    January 13, 2012

    Really enjoyed the video as I too watched it from a cubicle on a 75 degree socal day. Being from the northeast I find myself really missing the winter. It’s great to get a taste of what winter is like in the valley and would love to experience it first hand. The closest I’ve been to that experience was a weekend snowstorm in Sequioa back in November and it was bliss.

    By the way, what song did you use in the video? Bon Iver? Anyway, it was a greath match!

  3. YosemiteSteve permalink*
    January 13, 2012

    Thanks for watching and I’m glad you enjoyed it. The song is called “Finding Hope” and here’s a link to where I got it:


  4. February 18, 2012

    Muir park is quite bueftiaul in California. Great info on this guy. Coming from Wisconsin, I would hear a lot about this guy….and then I lived in California for 2 years visiting Yosemite National Park and other parks that had his influence….I saw his name so much everywhere I actually read up on him. He and Roosevelt, the first one, have had a lasting influence that will be hopefully felt for future generations.

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