I really like this close-up of a woodpecker; from Twitter.
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.
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:
NBC News correspondent Hallie Jackson posted this photo on her Twitter feed, a shot from NBC photographer Scot Kilian:
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.
- Not sure I can embed this, but click over to the New York Times amazing interactive piece on the Dawn Wall route, photos along the way, and a great perspective — note especially that little dot called “human size.”
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.
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.
Nice photo forwarded from the Wilderness Society.
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?)
- Follow the climbers on Twitter, @kjorgeson and @tommycaldwell1
- “Yosemite Climbers Attempt Historic First Free Ascent of El Capitan’s Dawn Wall,” AdventureBlog at National Geographic
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:
When did the tree fall? Hundreds of years ago, perhaps?
Yosemite NP Nature Notes 11: Big Trees
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?
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.
- A Stunning Time-Lapse Video Of The Enormous Yosemite Wildfire (businessinsider.com)
- Time-lapse of the Yosemite fire (matadornetwork.com)
- California Rim Fire grows: Astonishing timelapse videos from Yosemite (washingtonpost.com)
- “From Yosemite to Colorado, our approach to wildfires is all wrong,” Stephen Pyne of Arizona State University, in the Washington Post
- “9 scary facts about the Yosemite fire,” Mother Jones
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.
- Yosemite Past And Present (aquawriter.wordpress.com)
- Website commemorates Yosemite National Park’s anniversary (mercedsunstar.com)
- Yosemite History Past (historyinmywords.wordpress.com)
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:
- Catch Yosemite’s fiery falls before it’s too late (grindtv.com)
- Yosemite Valley’s “firefall” astounds park visitors (gallery) (sfgate.com)
- Yosemite (richardbegone.wordpress.com)
- Jay Sousa: Conditions must be right to photograph Horsetail Fall (mercedsunstar.com)
- Park Service Sets Plans for Sequester Cuts (blogs.wsj.com)
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?
- 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?
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 towhere 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.
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.
Thanks to Dynamic Perception for their motion controlled dolly and continued support!
Dynamic Perception Website: dynamicperception.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’.
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)
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?
- Does size matter? Yosemite National Park advocates think it might (sacbee.com)
- A Century of Yosemite National Park (evavoinigescu.wordpress.com)
- Stunning Time-Lapse Photography of Yosemite (sierraclub.typepad.com)
- John Muir: The saving of 100 million acres begins with a first word on paper (timpanogos.wordpress.com)
- Yosemite HD (ritholtz.com)
- Photo: A Beautiful Rainbowed Waterfall at Yosemite National Park (laughingsquid.com)
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.
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.
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.)