Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Foresta Lupine at Dusk

Foresta Lupine at Dusk, originally uploaded by Jeff Sullivan.

After photographing the lunar eclipse over Half Dome from Olmstead Point, I drove down to Yosemite Valley with the intention of staying there for the night and shooting "moonbows", lunar rainbows from the light of the full moon shining in the spray of Yosemite Valley's massive waterfalls. In spite of getting in line roughly 45 minutes before that morning's same-day campsite release at 8:30am, Yosemite holds back too few campsites to meet demend and I was unable to get a campsite that morning. Although my name was then placed on another list for reservation cancellations which would be released at 3, again I showed up and the supply dramatically failed to meet the demand (Yosemite removed a campground in 2001 following a flood, and failed to replace the lost sites or develop others, so sites are reserved months in advance and anyone who can't plan that far in advance is simply out of luck).

You've seen the weather that I encounter though... I often get lucky. Just as I was about to leave the unappeased crowd milliong about the campground reservation office, a woman walked up to me and offered to sell me her campsite for that night. She had bought it on Craigslist from soneone else who couldn't use it!

To make a long story short, my kids took me on a tour of the "Indian Caves", we returned and had the campsite set up by 6pm or so, had completed dinner by shortly after 7, but the sky was blue and clear, and I was too tired to go out for an alpenglow-only sunset. I went to the tent to take a nap, setting my alarm to get up late at night to go shoot moonbows. The alarm went off, I was too tired to get up, and I went back to sleep.

The next day packed up camp, took care of some adminstrative things via wi-fi in Curry Village, and headed up towards Foresta to see how the lupine were doing.

First stop was Cascade Creek, which is in shade this time of day, to capture long exposures. Next we explored the lupine fields at Foresta during a relatively colorless sunset.
Without no campsites available in Yosemite Valley, we aimed for the Eastern Sierra, where at least the Forest Service (under the Department of Agriculture, not the dysfunctional Department of the Interior)) provides a far better match between campsite demand and availability (and they allow siteless primitive camping as an option so site availability is not an issue).
Along the way the moon rose, so I paused to capture the moon rising behind trees on the ridges. I also paused to photograph frogs singing in my favorite pond near Tioga Pass.

Late, late, late at night, I had survived my campsite shortage and bureaucrat-imposed exile far from Yosemite Valley, and I had set up camp by 2:30am in the Eastern Sierra.