Tag Archives: Yosemite

Bear Grylls – Don’t feed the animals!

I keep telling my family that actually I’m Bear Grylls – I even have a t-shirt that proclaims such – but to no avail. Much chortling and ironic laughter comes my way, and I am roundly ridiculed. This is the inevitable lot of the pater familias, and I treat the sarcasm¬†with much forbearance…

Brown bear, Yosemite

Brown bear, Yosemite

Nevertheless, I do try to prove my point, and on our recent Californian holiday I pointed out to the sceptics in the family the abundance of wildlife around them. Yosemite was all about the bears. I saw 6. The family saw none – too lazy, looking the wrong way, too loud. Scared them all off. I ask you!

Pooh, off for a stroll

Pooh, off for a stroll

 

(We have lots of deer in Epping Forest too, but no mountains)

(We have lots of deer in Epping Forest too, but no mountains)

Better luck was had in Monterey. The whales took pity on the rest of my non-Bear Grylls family and came up close so the family couldn’t miss them. This was about 100 yards off the beach!

Humpback whale, humping its back

Humpback whale, humping its back

 

Dolphins riding the bow wave

Dolphins riding the bow wave

 

Fulmar, so fat with fish it can't take off

Fulmar, so fat with fish it can’t take off

HEY! did you see the BBC show from Monterey Bay just recently? The Big Blue. That’s where we were. The BBC’s been following us! OK, so they got pics of Gt Whites and Blue Whales which I didn’t. But they shamefully skipped over the Elephant Seals, which I forced the sceptical family to admire…

Blimey, they stink and they snore!

Blimey, they stink and they snore!

 

Dust bath

Dust bath

And being very Bear, I loved the hummingbirds as an antidote to all the hugeness everywhere else in California.

Breakfast with hummingbirds

Breakfast with hummingbirds

 

So, having suffered much abuse, mockery and derision, I think it very Bear of me still to feed the rest of the family. Careful of course! Feeing the animals is dangerous, especially as they can bite.

Scofferette...

Scofferette… what an animal!

 

 


Half Dome – from dawn to dusk

OK, everyone’s seen pictures of Half Dome before. Ansel Adams did some quite good shots, Galen Rowell took a few snaps, it may even have become a bit of a cliche… But I don’t care! Here is my HD portrait, from dawn to dusk, and I’m proud of it…

Dawn breaks in Yosemite

Dawn breaks on Half Dome

 

I was just setting up this pic below when a bear swam across the river behind me. Missed the shot completely – so much for my action photographer skills…

 

Half Dome and Merced River

Early morning Half Dome and Merced River

 

I think some quite well-known photographer made this view famous. No clearing winter storm to light my pic, a slightly murky August day instead.

Midday Half Dome from Wawona Road

Midday Half Dome from Wawona Road

 

What a lump of rock this is! The closer you get, the bigger it gets. Not bad for a bit of granite.

 

Half Dome profile from Washburn Point

Half Dome profile from Washburn Point

 

 

It’s distinctive, like a face. This is more portrait photography than landscape…

The face of Half Dome

The face of Half Dome

Reflection at dusk

Reflection at dusk

The valley in shadow

The valley in shadow

 

And if the Yosemite Gods are kind then you get a bit of cloud for a final sunset image.

Half Dome from Olmsted Point

Half Dome from Olmsted Point

What beauty in a lump of granite. Spectacular…

 

 

 


The bears almost got us in Yosemite

I’ve always loved the photographs by Ansel Adams, particularly those of Yosemite. So when, freshly married, we got the chance to go to California, I persuaded my wife to come with me to pay hommage to the great man, to visit Yosemite.¬†It was a great trip for me, not so good for my wife….

View from Glacier Point

View from Glacier Point

I must admit, I hadn’t really explained to her that to keep costs down we would be staying on a campsite, high up in the Sierra, where it gets very cold, and there are lots of bears. Tuolumne Meadows. “BEWARE THE BEARS!” the signposts yelled, “Do not leave anything in the car! Particularly anything that has any smell – bears can rip open a car in 30 seconds.” All accompanied by graphic pictures of a bear destroying a car to gorge itself on a Mars bar.

Mirror Lake

We were in a borrowed car (from a best friend of my wife’s), a beautiful red Mustang, with a soft top roof. And boy, was it crammed full of sweet wrappers and potato chips. There was a half bottle of Snapple under the seat! It was a bear magnet, a perfumed honey pot for any hungry bear that might be wandering around. Mrs P was not amused, indeed was rather apprehensive.

El Capitan

Yosemite Falls

That night, freezing in our tent, we listened out for the sounds of Freddy Kruger claws gashing their way through the beautiful white skinned soft top roof of the car. Every rustle and snuffle was assumed to be a ravenous bear (it was probably a hedgehog if truth be told…). Cold and tired in the morning, we realised that we, and the car, had survived! But the torture was not over. The campsite had no electricity, and communal showers. Little hot water – a tied flannel around the shower button to keep the water running. Not my wife’s cup of tea,… not at all.

View of Half Dome

As we drove down through the park I sensed a sigh of relief at my side. To heap indignity on it all, we drove past the most gorgeous hotel at the entrance to the park. “Why hadn’t we stayed there?” I was asked…. “Mmm, I thought it would be more fun under canvas…”

Half Dome

I learnt my lesson, and we have not been camping since. But I did get my photos, and I saw the Ansel Adams’ scenery. Awesome and majestic it is – just too many bears.

Bear magnet