Red-breasted sapsucker in Yosemite

May 6, 2015

I really like this close-up of a woodpecker; from Twitter.

Wonder how long birds live? Red-breasted sapsuckers can live at least 7 years! Photo by Ann & Rob Simpson #Yosemite

Wonder how long birds live? Red-breasted sapsuckers can live at least 7 years! Photo by Ann & Rob Simpson #Yosemite


Yosemite Park’s Dawn Wall climbers: They made it!

January 15, 2015

Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson on January 14 completed their free-climb ascent of the 3,000-foot Dawn Wall on El Capitan in Yosemite National Park — labeled the toughest free climb in the world.

Wow. Just wow.

The path up, the Dawn Wall on El Capitan.  San Francisco Chronicle graphic by John Blanchard, on a photo by Nate Ptacek/Patagonia

The path up, the Dawn Wall on El Capitan. San Francisco Chronicle graphic by John Blanchard, on a photo by Nate Ptacek/Patagonia

This interactive piece at the New York Times should give the proper sense of awe for what they’ve done. (If you’re a climber, you may want to get some more technical reports from YosemiteBigWall.com, who contributed to that interactive presentation.)

PBS’s Newshour had among the best reports:


Climbing the Dawn Wall in Yosemite — a little spot of light

January 13, 2015

NBC News correspondent Hallie Jackson posted this photo on her Twitter feed, a shot from NBC photographer Scot Kilian:

@HallieJackson:  Incredible shot from NBC's Scott Kilian: that tiny dot of light on side of #DawnWall is where the climbers slept.

@HallieJackson: Incredible shot from NBC’s Scott Kilian: that tiny dot of light on side of #DawnWall is where the climbers slept.

It’s a long exposure, enough that the stars brighten the black sky, but not quite so much that the stars become streaks on the photo.  Long enough that the lights used by Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson register on the CMOS (I’m assuming no film here).

Incredibly, their tents are pitched upon the rock, where mountain goats and cliff-dwelling birds fear to tread. It’s very much a vertical sheet of almost smooth rock.

And it’s a great photo.  In these particularly troubled times, any light shining on human cooperation to achieve great things becomes a beacon.

More: 

 


Yosemite Nature Notes: Ghost towns

January 13, 2015

Up on the Tioga Pass, Dana Village, Bennettville and the abandoned Golden Crown Mine tell part of the story of the 1890s gold rush in the Sierra Nevada.

Mining in California, okay. Mining at 11,000 feet in the Sierra Nevada, and staying there all winter?

Great history, geography, and explanation that every U.S. history student should know, about gold rushes, about boom towns, about mining entrepreneurs and investors, about failed enterprises and about the aftermath.

Published on Nov 19, 2014

Sitting on the crest of the Sierra Nevada, Tioga Pass is a gateway to Yosemite’s past. In 1880, a gold and silver rush erupted here, and miners flocked to Tioga Hill in droves.

Today, the ghosts of these miners work can be seen in the stone walls of Dana Village, rusty machinery at Bennettville, and the log cabins of the Golden Crown Mine. Even today’s popular Tioga Road was once a simple wagon road built to access the wealth of minerals that were never found.

It’s another great production by Steven Bumgardner, featuring two National Park Service rangers, Yenyen Chan and Greg Stock.

More:

Tioga Road.  Travelers who took this photo made the drive in a large RV -- so you can do it, too.  Photo from stillhowlynntravels

Tioga Road. Travelers who took this photo made the drive in a large RV — so you can do it, too. Photo from stillhowlyntravels

Map showing how to get to Tioga Pass in Yosemite National Park (at the eastern end of the red line).  Map from Undiscovered-Yosemite.com.

Map showing how to get to Tioga Pass in Yosemite National Park (at the eastern end of the red line). Map from Undiscovered-Yosemite.com.


Stars smile on climbers at El Capitan

January 7, 2015

Nice photo forwarded from the Wilderness Society.

Wilderness Society Tweeted: Stars over Yosemite's El Capitan (in honor of @kjorgeson & @tommycaldwell1). Have a good night!  (Photo by Justin Kern, flickr)

Wilderness Society Tweeted: Stars over Yosemite’s El Capitan (in honor of @kjorgeson & @tommycaldwell1). Have a good night! (Photo by Justin Kern, flickr)

Actually, this photo probably is not from the past few days, when Kevin Jorgeson and Tommy Caldwell worked to free climb the rock — but the Milky Way is there if they care to look!

Not just the whole world is watching — the whole universe shines down.

(Have you been following their climbing exploits?)

More:


Fallen Monarch: A Yosemite tree that dwarfs an entire mounted cavalry

August 13, 2014

Yosemite National Park, Facebook site:    About forty members of U.S. 6th Cavalry, Troop F, shown mounted on, or standing beside their horses, and lined up atop and beside the Fallen Monarch tree in the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias, Yosemite, 1899.

Yosemite National Park, Facebook site: About forty members of U.S. 6th Cavalry, Troop F, shown mounted on, or standing beside their horses, and lined up atop and beside the Fallen Monarch tree in the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias, Yosemite, 1899.

Giant sequoia trees can be found only in the United States, and only in or near the Sierra Mountains in California. 

How massive are they?  The tree above, with the 6th Cavalry’s F Troop posing on and around it with their horses, is 26 feet in diameter at its base, where it fell, and 285 feet long,   Redwood doesn’t rot like other woods.  The tree is still there, today, looking much like it did 115 years ago (Comments on Yosemite NP photo).

The Fallen Monarch, in Mariposa Grove, in 1907:

Fallen Monarch, Mariposa Grove of Yosemite NP, in 1907, with a stage coach and team of six horses posing on top.

Fallen Monarch, Mariposa Grove of Yosemite NP, in 1907, with a stage coach and team of six horses posing on top.

When did the tree fall?  Hundreds of years ago, perhaps?

More:

Yosemite NP Nature Notes 11: Big Trees


You should visit Yosemite National Park in winter

January 11, 2014

Here’s why, another video from the good people at Yosemite National Park:

Any of the National Parks is special, in winter.  What is your snow and cold experience in them?

More:

Winter photo of the Yosemite Valley, by Q T Luong -- a key photo used by the Ken Burns group in their series of films on the National Parks.

Winter photo of the Yosemite Valley, by Q T Luong — a key photo used by the Ken Burns group in their series of films on the National Parks.


Yosemite NP’s Rim Fire time-lapse

September 18, 2013

USDA/Flickr photo via Mother Jones: A National Park Service fire crew builds a sprinkler system around a grove of sequoias. USDA/Flickr

USDA/Flickr photo via Mother Jones: A National Park Service fire crew builds a sprinkler system around a grove of sequoias. USDA/Flickr

It’s a rolling tragedy, in time-lapse.  Fire always offers a chance at beauty, if we don’t think about the destruction the fire wreaks.

A lot of cameras around Yosemite, and some were set to do time-lapse photos of the recent Rim Fire.  One hopes there is some academic value to these films, perhaps in demonstrating how the diurnal rhythms of the atmosphere changes the behavior of fire (notice how smoke often changes directions at sunset, and then at sunrise, and back again).

All that smoke.  Much of it was living plant material just a few weeks ago, and we watch it turned to tiny particles and gases, and spread by the winds.

More information from the filmmakers and posters:

Published on Aug 28, 2013

Time-lapse photography shows various perspectives of the 2013 Rim Fire, as viewed from Yosemite National Park. The first part of this video is from the Crane Flat Helibase. The fire [was]  . . .burning in wilderness and  . . . not immediately threatening visitors or employees. The second half of the video is from Glacier Point, showing Yosemite Valley, and how little the smoke from the fire has impacted the Valley.

In this next piece, you’ll see footage of fire fighting operations, including a back-burn, and helicoptering of supplies to firefighters on the front lines.  It’s the non-time-lapse version, with wildtrack sound.

Published on Sep 7, 2013

Fire crews in Yosemite conducted firing operations along the Tioga Road this week to provide a buffer of protection from the Rim Fire. As you can see in this video, the fire mostly burns debris on the forest floor rather than the trees. It’s only when the forest floor accumulates too much debris or too many young trees that a small fire like this gets hot enough to torch mature trees and spread from treetop to treetop.

Later in the video, we give you a behind-the-scenes peek at Yosemite’s Helicopter 551 ferrying supplies from the Crane Flat helibase.

The timelapse, from August, has over a million-and-a-half views on YouTube; the non-timelapse, a few weeks later, has fewer than 6,000 views, as I write this.  Time-lapse is very popular.

More:


What rocks Yosemite? Granite

July 7, 2013

Yosemite’s Nature Notes #20 (I’m behind):  A short film discussing the astonishing manifestations of granite in Yosemite National Park.

English: El Capitan in Yosemite National Park ...

El Capitan in Yosemite National Park viewed from the Valley Floor — one of the more famous granite formations in the Park. Wikipedia image

The film is simply named, “Granite.”  Steven Bumgardner produced the film.

Yosemite’s chief formations are granite, an igneous rock.  Much of the terrain was carved in the granite by glaciers and glaciation — so what Yosemite shows is how fire and ice combine to make rock, to make rock formations, and to make rocks of astonishing beauty.

(This is not a place to bolster creationist ideas.  This is real science, looking at God’s handiwork first hand.)

A North Carolina university makes field trips to Yosemite?  I’d love to take that class!

Watching this film, you get a sense of how important it can be to the education of our children to travel in the summers, to take vacations to our National Parks, and to places like Yosemite.

Where are you taking your kids this summer?  Kids, where are you going?

Enjoy it.  Geology lessons are often fun, and this one, on film, is more fun than most.

More:

Close-up of granite from Yosemite National Par...

Close-up of granite from Yosemite National Park, valley of the Merced River – Wikipedia image


Yosemite’s Horsetail Falls at its fiery best

February 26, 2013

Photo Tweeted from the National Park Service:

Bethany Gediman photo of Horsetail Falls, Yosemite NP, glowing orange

Horsetail Fall flows over the eastern edge of El Capitan in Yosemite Valley. It’s a small waterfall that many people don’t notice, but it has gained popularity as more and more people have noticed it can glow orange during sunset in mid to late February. The most popular place to see Horsetail Fall seemingly afire is El Capitan picnic area, west of Yosemite Lodge and east of El Capitan (see map below). The “firefall” effect generally happens during the second half of February. A clear sky is necessary for the waterfall to glow orange. Photo: Bethany Gediman, NPS

People living close to National Parks are lucky to do so; people who work in them luckier still, in the lifetime sweepstakes for seeing breathtaking sites.  NPS employee (Ranger?) Bethany Gediman caught this image of Horsetail Fall in Yosemite National Park.

Be sure to see the video of Yosemite Nature Notes No. 14, posted here earlier. It shows Horsetail at sunset in full glory.  Great photography.

How to get there:

Map to Horsetail Falls, Yosemite NP

Map of Yosemite National Park, showing Horsetail Falls and hiking trail to get to viewpoint in the photograph.

More:


Night skies at Yosemite, in time-lapse

September 6, 2012

Yosemite National Park, watching stars, with time-lapse photography.  The only way life gets better than this is to go there and film it yourself.  Yosemite Nature Notes 19.

Description from Nature Notes:

Yosemite’s vast acreage and remote location protect some of the darkest night skies in the country. Astronomers, photographers and city dwellers flock to the park to take advantage of this unique opportunity to view planets, stars, and galaxies.

Producer is Steven M. Bumgardner, and it features, inter alia, an interview with Shawn Reeder, whose time-lapse work I’ve highlighted before.

For classroom use, some topics and questions to pursue:

  • For geography, where is Yosemite N.P.?  Flying commercially, which airport is the best to get to the park?

    President Teddy Roosevelt and conservationist John Muir at Overhanging Rock, Glacier Point, Yosemite

    President Teddy Roosevelt and conservationist John Muir pose at Overhanging Rock at the top of Glacier Point, near which the men camped in a hollow and awoke to five inches of snow in 1903. National Park Service image

  • Map reading and orientation:  In the time-lapse sequences, you can frequently see lights streaking across the sky.  Those are commercial airliners — can you tell what airport they are headed to, or from?  Can you tell which ones are coming, which going?
  • Science:  What star formations do you see in these photographs that you can see from your house?  What star formations are not visible from your house?
  • Government:  Who signs the checks that pay the rangers pictured in the film?  For which agency do the work, in which branch of which government?
  • People in the film discuss light pollution from nearby cities.  Is there an agency in the federal government who has jurisdiction over light pollution?  How about an  agency in the state government?  What are the rules on light pollution for cities around Yosemite?
  • Can you identify the landmarks, the cliffs, rocks, mountains and rivers, portrayed in the film?  (Students might use a USGS topographical map, California state tourist promotion maps and websites, National Park Service databases, Google Earth, Google,  and a wide variety of other sources.
  • Who was president of the U.S. when Yosemite was set aside as a National Park, and what were the controversies surrounding it?
  • Who was John Muir?  Who was Frederick Law Olmsted?  What were their roles in the history of Yosemite?
  • Who lived in Yosemite, if anyone, before the Spanish missions were established in California?  When were the missions established?  How did the U.S. gain possession of the Yosemite Valley?

Yosemite time-lapse tour

July 25, 2012

From Project Yosemite, a series of cool time-lapses, from one of the coolest spots on Earth, Yosemite National Park.

Details on the film, and how to track down the artists and see more, from Project Yosemite’s Vimeo site:

A collaborative project by Sheldon Neill and Colin Delehanty. What started as an idea turned into an ongoing adventure to timelapse Yosemite in an extreme way.

We were complete strangers before it all started, but after we met on Vimeo our idea came into sight, and then began the challenge to make numerous trips to YNP where we would capture the beautiful landscape it offers for visitors every year.

We invite you to watch our video in hopes you’ll witness Yosemite like never before.

Project Yosemite

Yosemite HD

This video is a collaboration between Sheldon Neill and Colin Delehanty. All timelapses were shot on the Canon 5D Mark II with a variety of Canon L and Zeiss CP.2 Lenses.

Project Yosemite Website: projectyose.com
Facebook Page: facebook.com/projectyose
Contact info: info@projectyose.com

Thanks to Dynamic Perception for their motion controlled dolly and continued support!

Dynamic Perception Website: dynamicperception.com

Track: Outro
Album: Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming
Artist: M83
Site: ilovem83.com
Publishing: emimusicpub.com
Licensing: bankrobbermusic.com

This whole project has been an amazing experience. The two of us became friends through Vimeo and explored a shared interest in timelapsing Yosemite National Park over an extended period of time. We’d like to expand this idea to other locations and would appreciate any suggestions for a future project.

Project Yosemite was featured as a main story on Yosemite National Park’s Spring Newsletter.: yosemitepark.com/timelapse-sprnews-2012.aspx

To view this in 2K, visit: youtu.be/OwFbjJasW3E
Be sure to change the quality settings to ‘Original’.

Twitter:
twitter.com/#!/SheldonNeill
twitter.com/#!/delehanty

Facebook:
facebook.com/sheldon.neill
facebook.com/delehanty

Behind The Scenes: vimeo.com/35223326
By Dalton Runberg

Our hearts go out to the families of Markus Praxmarer who lost his life while climbing Half Dome on September 19th, 2011 and Ranger Ryan Hiller, who was crushed by a tree January 22nd 2012. They will be missed. (A photo of Ranger Ryan Hiller can be found to the right, above the statistics counter)

Generalized geologic map of the Yosemite area....

Generalized geologic map of the Yosemite area. (USGS image) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yosemite National Park is spectacular, and much photographed than other great natural places of beauty.  How much does it benefit from being in California, closer to many people with good cameras and great photographic skills, to an extent that more distant, spectacular parks like Glacier N.P., Yellowstone N.P and Big Bend N.P. do not benefit? How does that affect management of the parks? How does that affect how people view their own local adventure areas?

Will Project Yosemite be back with more?

More:


Sky islands in Yosemite National Park

September 19, 2011

Nature Notes #16 from the good people at Yosemite National Park:  Sky Islands.

Throughout the Sierra Nevada, high flat plateaus are found at elevations around twelve and thirteen thousand feet. These isolated sky islands are the home to unique plant communities that are found nowhere else.


Yosemite Nature Notes extra: Time lapse of people visiting

September 4, 2011

Among other things one might observe from this film, one might note that Yosemite National Park’s beauty is so great that it looks good from almost any angle, even with tourists plastered all over it.

This was released between Yosemite Nature Notes #14 and #15, and I find no other description.  This remains a wonderful series showing off the geography and natural phenomena of Yosemite.  I wish there were similar programs for Yellowstone, Glacier, Denali, Grand Canyon, Zion, Bryce, Big Bend, Great Smoky Mountains, and for the Adirondack State Park in New York, among many others.


Full Moon, waterfalls in Yosemite, modern cameras: Voila! Moonbows!

July 7, 2011

Dick Feynman taught in Rio de Janeiro for a while.  He was frustrated at the way Brazilian students of that day learned physics by rote, instead of in labs.  In a lecture he looked out from the classroom to the sun dancing on the waves of the Atlantic, and he realized it was a beautiful, brilliant demonstration of light refraction, the topic of the day.  Sadly, the students didn’t understand that the beauty before them was a physics problem.  (Was that story in Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman,  or What Do You Care What Others Think?)

Here, a marriage of physics, moonlight, spring runoff over a cliff, and modern photography, in Yosemite.  If you don’t gasp, call your physician and find a new sensei:

(Programs and maintenance of this park are threatened by Republican budget writers, BTW.)


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