I met Shawn Reeder a long time ago when I was speaking at a photography conference. He embodies that adventurous spirit and lifestyle that is straight out of a magazine…He can sleep in his truck and makes his living photographing landscapes all over the world as well as creating some timelapses that you might walk in and see lighting up the screens of an electronics store. I knew Yosemite was his “home” park so to say. He lived in the area once upon a time and has an intimate familiarity. Lucky me; Shawn offers one-on-one mentoring for photographers and I was THRILLED he was available to meet up so I roped in a friend and decided we were going to Yosemite! Worth every single penny and more.
Of course on the way out Laura and I couldn’t resist stopping with a camera sporting carved bear at the Cedar Lodge on the way up!
We met Shawn at the classic Tunnel View parking area where he immediately took us off trail just a few minutes away from the MASSES (it was a holiday week after all!) Next thing I know we are scaling some boulders and edging near a steep drop and my heart rate picked up a bit. A short hike and a glorious solitary log awaited a STUNNING unobstructed view just minutes from the droves of people.
I started bawling. Like serious tears. It snuck up on me. The overwhelming magnitude of the view, the excitement of the night ahead, but more importantly the pride and relief that I was doing something for MYSELF. So often, I don’t. It’s my kids. My husband. Responsibility. Don’t spend on this. Why take time to do that. All the mothers I know are nodding. It struck me to my core. The way something hits you when you are reaching back at yourself. I am so often not the person I used to be and while that is glorious in its own ways, my wanderlust spirit and adventurous self was shining. Shawn being the amazing guy he is, hugged me a deep meaningful hug. He knew. He commented something deep about the magnitude of this special place and it’s energy. That kind of thing a rock climber says. But he was right. You can see the right side of edge we walked over on the lower right of this image and through the brownish tree in the center right the parking lot of droves of people unaware that are view far beat theirs.
As if all the tears and feel good vibes weren’t enough, the wind shifted and we could see a rainbow in Bridalveil Falls. One that wasn’t visible from the parking area.
After that we headed up to Bridalveil
and did a little scrambling on the boulders. This scared the ever living junk out of me. Being a foot away from a steep fall exhilarates me as I have no fear of heights whatsoever, but climbing on slick rocks low to the ground downright makes me nervous. I guess the idea of injury by head cracking ankle shattering scares me more than death!
After a bit, we headed for the meadow of stunning views of the nose of El Capitan
in the changing afternoon light.
Just a simple little trail off the regular hit list of tourist. #thatlightthough
To end the afternoon and set up for the night, we headed up to Glacier Point and stopped at Washburn Point
on the way.
We followed Shawn over the rocks at Glacier Point
. Right feet away from the edge, 3,214 ft above Half Dome village and the Valley floor. It was a view that Laura wasn’t comfortable going for, so she snapped this photo from her phone of Shawn and I taking it in nearing the edge. I won’t show the one I took of her worried face, but it is funny. Privately funny.
What I was shooting.
Shawn went for it being the kind of experienced sure-footed adventurer that he is.
After him, a stranger scooted down also, but man this guy was in flip flops!! No thanks man.
The weather was perfect. The last light, the clouds. It was just gorgeous.
My first attempt at astrophotography with helpful tips and tricks from Shawn. You can see Vernal Falls
to the right which we hiked as a family the day before (more on that!)
The moon and valley floor.
The Milkyway was stunning. This type of night photography takes a lot of patience and long exposures. And fighting with a tripod you might throw down to the valley if you didn’t know it would hurt someone.
We drove out of the valley at 1:30 am or so and I couldn’t sleep until almost 3 am. It was just too much. I’m already pricing tickets to go back.
All images are for sale, just touch base with me if you are interested in buying a print of any size or licensing for commercial use. I am now offering wall murals of any of my photography if you want something large in your home. We will be putting on these half-dome with starry sky images up in Hayden’s big boy room as focal wall.
Want to find out if I could be the right photographer for you? Please get in touch!