Around sunset on Tuesday it started snowing at my house in Mariposa — first lightly, then heavily. In no time we had three or four inches of snow, and eventually got six inches, which is a lot for our 2700-foot elevation.
But the storm looked very compact on radar, and the precipitation didn’t seem to be reaching Yosemite. I called my friend Kirk Keeler, who lives in Yosemite Valley, and he told me that they had received only half an inch of snow.
Wednesday morning Claudia and I cleared the snow off our car and drove up to Yosemite Valley. We found an inch or two of snow — not a lot, but enough to highlight every tree branch. I saw many beautiful scenes with trees etched in snow, including the pattern of cottonwood branches below.
The morning was clear, but later some evaporation clouds started to appear, and they kept building. By the end of the day all the cliffs were hidden by clouds. But between 4:00 to 4:30 in the afternoon Half Dome and the clouds put on a great show. Half Dome would vanish completely, then reappear, wrapped in clouds and speckled with sunlight. I made the photograph above just before Half Dome disappeared for good.
Unfortunately the dusting of snow did little to improve the water level in Horsetail Fall. And our dry weather pattern is expected to continue. There’s a slight chance of showers tonight, but then no precipitation in the forecast for the coming week. Let’s hope that we get some good storms in March to give us booming waterfalls in April and May!
Wednesday also happened to be Ansel Adams’ 111th birthday. After dark we attended a program commemorating the event presented by Ansel Adams Gallery staff members Evan Russel, Mike Reeves, and the aforementioned Kirk Keeler. They did a great job, mixing history with beautiful photography — their own as well as Ansel’s.
There’s another event tonight: the reception for the 28th annual Yosemite Renaissance exhibit (5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Yosemite Museum, next to the Visitor Center). If you’re in Yosemite this is a great chance to see some beautiful artwork, and meet lots of interesting people. Maybe I’ll see you there.
— Michael Frye
Michael Frye is a professional photographer specializing in landscapes and nature. He is the author and photographer of The Photographer’s Guide to Yosemite, Yosemite Meditations, and Digital Landscape Photography: In the Footsteps of Ansel Adams and the Great Masters, plus the eBooks Light & Land: Landscapes in the Digital Darkroom, and Exposure for Outdoor Photography. He has written numerous magazine articles on the art and technique of photography, and his images have been published in over thirty countries around the world. Michael has lived either in or near Yosemite National Park since 1983, currently residing just outside the park in Mariposa, California.