In the Moment:
Michael Frye's Landscape Photography Blog

Another Snowy Weekend

Half Dome and El Capitan, sunrise

Half Dome and El Capitan, sunrise

I can’t remember seeing so much snow in November. Saturday brought another storm, and six inches of new snow to the valley floor. I went out in the blizzard Saturday afternoon to photograph snowy trees (my wife Claudia posted a photo of me in the Ahwahnee Meadow on my Facebook page). The storm cleared during the night, and Sunday was another one of those great Yosemite days—a beautiful sunrise, and fresh snow everywhere. The photo above was made from Tunnel View shortly after sunrise, and I’ve included a couple of other photos from the day below. As you can see in the last image, there is still, amazingly, some fall color in spots.

Curiously there were few other photographers in the valley. Only two other people captured the sunrise from Tunnel View—locals Evan Russell and Walter Flint. I spotted a few tripods later in the day, but was surprised there weren’t more, especially with such great conditions on a holiday weekend. Maybe no one could get reservations near the park. Or, perhaps perhaps people were actually spending time with their families instead of devoting every spare moment to photography. Imagine that! Well, with luck we’ll get many more photogenic storms this winter.

Golden reflections in the Merced River

Golden reflections in the Merced River

Snow falling from oaks, Ahwahnee Meadow

Things to be Thankful For



I love Thanksgiving because it’s such a universal, inclusive holiday. Regardless of your religious or spiritual beliefs everyone has something to be thankful for.

As photographers, we can be thankful for the beautiful, amazing, infinitely varied world we live in, a world that provides an endless supply of great subjects to photograph.

We can also be thankful to Daguerre, or Talbot, or whoever really invented photography, for creating this wonderful medium which gives everyone an opportunity to express themselves.

I’m thankful that photography forces me to really pay attention to everything around me instead of thinking about the mundane day-to-day problems that could so easily occupy my thoughts.

I’m thankful for the inspiring work of all my fellow photographers. You never cease to surprise me!

I’m thankful that I’ve been able to live near and photograph Yosemite for over 25 years. It’s such a special place, and a great privilege to become so intimately acquainted with it.

I’m very thankful for my family, and especially for my wonderful wife who’s always been so patient with and supportive of my photography.

I’m particularly thankful for all of you—fellow photographers, blog readers, Yosemite lovers—for reading, listening, and commenting. Your participation makes writing this blog fun, and it’s great to be able to talk about my love of photography with others who share that passion.

Happy Thanksgiving!

(P.S. The critique series is taking Thanksgiving week off, but will be back next week. See you then!)

More Snow

Sunset clouds over Cathedral Rocks yesterday eveningAnother cold storm arrived early this morning. Rain turned to snow at my house in Mariposa about an hour ago, and the sky is full of big, fat flakes. I was in Yosemite Valley yesterday afternoon, and found about a foot of wet snow in the meadows. There could be another foot before this latest storm ends. Looks like we’ll have a white Thanksgiving!

There’s still some nice fall color in Yosemite Valley, especially in the eastern end. The oaks adjacent to Cook’s Meadow and the Ahwahnee Meadow have retained most of their leaves, and you can find colorful dogwoods between Curry Village and the Ahwahnee Hotel.

From the comments on my previous post it sounds like many of you braved the slippery roads and made it up to Yosemite this past weekend. It was a beautiful weekend, and I bet some of you got great photos! I’m always interested in seeing what people have captured, so please feel free to include links to images in the comments.

Sunset clouds over Cathedral Rocks yesterday evening

A Change in the Forecast

Photographer at Tunnel View on a snowy morning
Photographer at Tunnel View on a snowy morning

When I wrote my post the other day (First Snow?) it looked like Yosemite Valley might get a few inches of snow this weekend. Now forecasters are predicting one to two feet above 4000 feet, and 8 to 12 inches above 3000 feet. There’s a big difference in driving conditions between the two scenarios. Please go only if you’re really prepared to deal with serious winter driving.

If you do still go you’ll have to bring chains of course, but make sure they actually fit! Try them on in your driveway first. It’s no fun attempting to put chains on for the first time in the middle of a blizzard, only to find that they’re too small. Also, I recommend taking Highway 140, as this is the lowest elevation route into Yosemite Valley. However it looks like even this route will have snow outside the park near Midpines on Saturday night and Sunday.

If you’re an experienced winter driver, by all means go, and have a good time! If you’re not experienced you might want to rethink your plans.


First Snow?

Forecasters are expecting a cold stormto arrive this weekend. The snow level is predicted to drop to 4000 or 5000 feet on Saturday, and possibly lower on Sunday. Yosemite Valley, at 4000 feet, may get its first snow of the season.

While the fall color is past peak, the oaks have kept most of their leaves, so we could see that rare combination of snow and fall color this weekend.

In the meantime, a stretch of warm weather has allowed Tioga Pass to reopen, but it will probably close again when the forecast storm arrives around Friday night.

It could be a great weekend for photography in Yosemite, but if you come make sure you’re prepared for winter driving! Four-wheel drive is very helpful, but you’re required to carry chains even if you have four-wheel drive.

I may be in the valley on Sunday, so if you see me be sure to say hello. Good luck!