Yosemite, Spring 2016

Having recently given up my Canon 5D mk2, I was on the market for a replacement. This time around, I wanted to go with Nikon, so I picked up a Nikon D750 on Amazon and would receive it on Friday. I could barely wait, and wanted desperately to try it out.

The day after ordering the camera, my father happened to send me a text message:

Hey, g'mornin! I hear the Yosemite waterfalls are running full bore, which is pretty rare. If you can get away this weekend to go see them, should be pretty cool. Call ahead though to check traffic into the valley.

This was all I needed to decide that on Saturday, I would make the four hour drive to Yosemite to learn the camera. I wouldn't have everything I needed to take proper landscape pictures, like an ultra wide angle lens or some saucy neutral density filters, but who cares! I hadn't been to Yosemite in ten years and I wanted to photograph it!

I sent off some messages to a friend of mine, Vivek, and coaxed him and his girlfriend, Ari, to join me on the two-day trip with only two days of advanced notice.

We left San Jose at 5 a.m. to try to beat the traffic. We succeeded and were able to make our way into the park and find a parking spot by 10a.m. After having lunch and taking some photos. We hiked most of the Upper Yosemite Falls trail, each of us carrying a single water bottle. Two hours of switchbacks and panting left our bottles depleted, leaving us with nothing for the long hike back. Note to self: bring more water next time! By the time we got back down, we were all extremely exhausted and thirsty. Beer and pizza worked their restorative powers, and we found our way to the Red Bud Lodge for the night.

On day two, we woke up at 4am to attempt some dawn images, hiked the trail for Mirror Lake, and said our goodbyes to Yosemite.

Despite the exhaustion and sunburn, I am so glad we went! I feel like I learned a lot from the experience and can't wait to return to take another stab at it. Here are some of the pictures I got.

 Dawn above Half Dome

Dawn above Half Dome

 The falls certainly were going! 

The falls certainly were going! 

 A tribute to the master

A tribute to the master

 A sliver of Mirror Lake

A sliver of Mirror Lake

 Yosemite Falls

Yosemite Falls

 View from the Upper Yosemite Falls trail, about halfway up

View from the Upper Yosemite Falls trail, about halfway up

 Ari and Vivek mid-hike

Ari and Vivek mid-hike