Reflection and Cathedral Peak, Yosemite
I set out to photograph in the Yosemite high country for my one day off this summer, seeking the somewhat hidden Cathedral Lakes. Little did I know the popularity of this hike. The first of the lakes was incredible, but I was destined to share it with almost a dozen other hikers. Trying to find a quieter place on the other side of the lake, I found two more individuals, probably also seeking their solitude at the edge of the Yosemite wilderness. Unsatisfied, I began to climb a rather vertical escarpment 600ft below Tressidor Peak. At last! I found myself forgetting about worldly problems, and began focusing on all the varieties of delicate mountain flowers, features of the granite landscape, and rolling in the remainder of snow. Up here around 10,000ft, I could feel that very few footsteps have ever trod here. I continued until I couldn’t go vertically, and then scrambled across the cliffs until I reached the ridge between the Cathedral Lakes. From here, the sun was beginning to set, and the final photograph of this series was from the lower lake. On this day, unlike any of the other in the two total months I have spent here, I took good photographs. They convey the little observations I made while hiking and bushwhacking the high country.
This park, more than any other in the park system, has been photographed as early as daguerreotypes reached Western shores. Some of the most intrepid photographers, like Muybridge and Watkins, dragged mammoth plates (22inch plate glass negatives), assistants, and mule teams up and down the Yosemite Valley. To cap it off, you can’t visit this park without being reminded that one of the greatest landscape photographers, Ansel Adams, spent most of his career photographing here. All this history, who wouldn’t be daunted to attempt to make great photographs here? Way up where the air is thin (and I probably wasn’t getting enough oxygen in my brain), I realized that I just need to forget the history of this place. I needed to stop unconsciously making copies of all these images that I have studied in great detail. I just needed to find the small things that make Yosemite unique, and take my own unique perspectives to the iconic features that have been documented for almost two centuries by picture makers.
The Escarpment, Yosemite
Old Pine and Cathedral Peak, Yosemite
Lower Cathedral Lake, Yosemite