Yosemite National Park is one of those places that just feels like home to me. Every time I leave, I'm a bit heartbroken, yet completely fulfilled. When I drive up here from the insanity that is Los Angeles, I'm generally on a mission to hit the trails, inhale crisp mountain air and chase the best light I can possibly find.
After a disappointing and uneventful sunrise at Glacier Point this morning, I was ready for a breakfast burrito and an edit session. Truth be told, I wanted to delete everything I had shot over the last 24 hours, because I was feeling that defeated. But there's this Roald Dahl quote I like to live by, and as I drove down the 41 into the valley, I felt the words come to life:
“And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don't believe in magic will never find it.”
About fifteen minutes after I left the parking lot at Glacier Point, I swerved into a turnout because I couldn't believe the sight before my eyes. The fog in YNP is so legendary I think it deserves its own name, but I had never seen anything quite like this. The first rays of the day were piercing through the trees along the valley floor, and the fog was only amplifying this. After ten or so minutes of snapping away, I moved along, and about fifteen minutes after that, I was stopped dead in my tracks yet again.
Somewhere inside the main road in the park, I saw these sunbeams exploding around some saplings on the forest floor, and I immediately stopped my car. I think it's safe to say I’ll happily go hours without breakfast and coffee when the light is this spectacular. Rangers had set a number of controlled burns the previous week, and smoke was still lingering around the valley, creating an eerie yet entrancing scene. You could smell it in the air, but seeing the rays bounce off it made it come alive in a way I can’t even describe.
Truly one of those days I feel lucky to have experienced -- and even luckier to have captured with my camera.