Saturday, November 14, 2009

Back to Nature, Yosemite National Park & Mono Lake

After we got back from our Chasing the Volcanos flying tour, we left the San Francisco area for the second part of the trip, the Back to Nature RV Camper adventure.BackToNature
We initially headed for Yosemite,  one of the most known US National Parks which covers a vast total area of 761,266 acres (308,073 ha) of wilderness. 
Yosemite is visited by over 3.5 million people each year, many of whom unfortunately only spend time in the seven square miles (18 sqkm) of Yosemite Valley. We decided not to be part of them.
One of the most spectacular views is form Glacier point, overlooking the Yosemite valley from 7214 ft (2199m). Half Dome, a very distinct granite rock rising 4800 feet above the valley floor and the icon of Yosemite, can be seen on the right. 
Along the Merced river we bumped into this rock formation with interesting reflections. 
One can easily spend a week in this magnificent wilderness area making images all day. No wonder the famous American photographer and environmentalist, Ansel Adams (February 20, 1902 – April 22,1984), spend so much of his life photographing the beauty of Yosemite. 
Ansel is especially known for his black and white photography and I can clearly see how the granite rock formations really are excellent B&W subjects.
Unfortunately it was time to move on… We left Yosemite through the Tioga Pass (elevation 9943 ft / 3031 m), the highest highway mountain pass in California and Sierra Nevada. 

This pass, like many other passes in the Sierra Nevada, has a gradual approach from the west and drops off to the east dramatically, losing more than 3,000 ft (914 m) by the time the road reaches U.S. Route 395. 

After the steep descent, our next natural wonder was awaiting us, the majestic body of water, Mono Lake. An ancient alkaline lake, over 1 million years old and covering about 65 square miles with a salinity level twice as much as normal ocean water. For comparison the Dead Sea has a salinity level which is 8 times as much as the standard ocean water. It is one of the oldest lakes in North America and has no outlet.
The southern part of the lake has very interesting "Tufa" formations, which are calcium-carbonate spires and knobs formed by interaction of freshwater springs and alkaline lake water. Once again full of great photo opportunities.
Next, we started looking for Gold… more in the next blogpost!

Fly safe and happy shooting,

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