Photography Workshop “Yosemite in Winter: A Season of Contrast” with Michael Mariant. Day 1: Yosemite National Park.
I was the last person to occupy this cabin in Curry Village while attending the Nikonians ANPAT 8 (Annual Nikonians Photo Adventure Trip) in October of 2008 — Led by Michael Mariant. On that day, just after lunch we heard a loud noise. It first sounded like thunder or a very loud freight train, but the noise continued and kept getting louder. The sky was clear when we were at lunch so I knew it couldn’t be a freak winter thunderstorm. Michael in the cabin next to me yelled “rock slide, run”. The next thing we knew, Yosemite Valley was enveloped in a cloud of rock dust. Eighteen months later, the cabin still exists but stands empty in a closed area of Curry Village.
Gone to See America October 2008 Road Trip. Eighth Annual Nikonian Photography Adventure Trip. Day 6: Yosemite National Park.
On the last day of ANPAT 8, we did a walkabout in Yosemite Valley. First, we visited the smallest waterfall in the valley at Fern Spring. It is just off the road and in the shade. Well worth taking the time to visit and photograph. I also got some images of mushrooms/tree fungi. While I was busy with the mushrooms, the rest of the group tried to get a picture of a small brown bear running to the Merced river.
Gone to See America October 2008 Road Trip. Eighth Annual Nikonian Photography Adventure Trip. Day 5: Yosemite National Park.
The Park Service recovered all of our belongings from the tent-cabins in Curry Village. We then checked into various Yosemite hotels and lodges (gratis). Much higher end lodging than the sparse tent-cabins. Before dinner, Michael Mariant as a special treat after all the weeks commotion took us for a walk along a quiet and peaceful section of the Merced river. The diffuse and sublime lighting made for some great images.
Gone to See America October 2008 Road Trip. Eighth Annual Nikonian Photography Adventure Trip. Day 3: Yosemite National Park.
Rock Slide at Curry Village. Hard to believe it has been ten years since I experienced a rock slide at Curry Village. Since then, many of the cabins and cabin tents in Curry Village were relocated further away from the valley walls. Actually, Curry Village is now known as “Half Dome Village” due to a trademark dispute between the National Park Service and the previous concessions service company. Actually, all of the hotels, lodges, campsites, and restaurants had to change their names. Since the rock slide, I stayed in Curry Village two more times.
After our morning session, we ate lunch at Curry Village. Michael Mariant was going to do an IR photography workshop in the afternoon. On the way to the workshop, we stopped by our cabins. As we were leaving the cabins there was this loud noise. At first it sounded like thunder — but the sky was blue with no clouds. The noise got louder, and Michael yelled “run for your lives — rock slide” We all ran from our cabins to the parking lot. Since I drove, I was one of the few that had cameras and lenses available. Most of the folks left their gear in the cabin for the IR workshop. I took the following images during and just after the rock slide. Luckily, there were no injuries since most everyone was out of Curry Village visiting other parts of Yosemite when the rock slide occurred. Later in the afternoon, a Park Service helicopter with a USGS geologist surveyed the rock slide site and declared things safe. Only then were we permitted to return to our cabins. A school group was also staying at Curry village. That evening the Elementary school age children moved to a different campsite. The Middle and High school students remained at Curry Village. The crisis counselors told the students that a large rock falls in Yosemite Valley on average every 9-10 days, so they would be safe for the rest of the trip. Little did they know that Murphy was listening!!!!
Gone to See America October 2008 Road Trip. Eighth Annual Nikonian Photography Adventure Trip. Day 2: Mono Lake.
Our van departed Curry Village at 05:30 AM. That still wasn’t early enough to get to Mono Lake before sunrise (78 miles via Tioga Pass). We spent the morning at Mono Lake photographing the Tufa’s, a unique geological formation rising out of the salty alkaline lake. This is also a major site for bird migrations — feeding on the brine shrimp. We then had breakfast at the Whoa Nellie Deli in Lee Vining (strongly recommended). After breakfast we proceeded to Bodie State Historic Park.
Individual images in the slideshow can be viewed here.