Friday, July 10, 2015

Yosemite National Park In May - Part 5: Cook's Meadow & Yosemite Falls

Half Dome From Yosemite Valley - Yosemite National Park, California

After finishing up in Curry Village we drove towards Yosemite Falls. Our plan was to hike the Lower Yosemite Falls Trail since it's an easy trek, perfect for young kids and a stroller. We found parking under a tree near Cook's Meadow.

It was lunch time, so we pulled out the food we had brought from home and made sandwiches, which we ate in the car. When we were done and cleaning everything up, I noticed a bobcat sneaking through the meadow not far from us. It was stalking a squirrel. I had my camera already around my neck, so I quickly began taking pictures. The bobcat noticed me right away from the sound of the opening and closing shutter.

He continued sneaking up on the squirrel, but soon the rodent scurried up a tree. As soon as that happened the bobcat looked at me with his mouth open, as if he was blaming me for his lunch escaping. And then it headed straight towards me! I backed up a little and in a loud voice told my family to watch out (they were several feet behind me). But then the bobcat turned direction and crossed the street, disappearing into the trees. Whew!


Infrared Tree In Cook's Meadow - Yosemite National Park, California
With that excitement over, we made our way to the Lower Yosemite Falls Trail for a hike. This trail is paved and well travelled. It makes a one mile loop to the base of the lower falls.

There are fantastic views of both the upper and lower falls from the trail, but the middle falls remain hidden. Altogether, Yosemite Falls is the largest waterfall in America, dropping a total of 2,425'. The upper falls alone is one of the top 20 highest in the world. It's a must-see for visitors to the park, but (as we discovered during our autumn trip) it is dry in the late-summer and fall.

One thing about Yosemite National Park is that every which way you turn there are photographic opportunities. In front of you, behind you and beside you are great scenes. This is especially true along the Lower Yosemite Falls Trail.
Bobcat Cross-Processed - Yosemite National Park, California
After completing the trail loop we got back in the car, but not without capturing a few more photographs from Cook's Meadow. This is a good place to see Half Dome and Cathedral Spires. And where you'll find perhaps the most photographed tree in the park.

While the visit to Yosemite National Park was winding down it was far from over. We still had a few more stops on the agenda, and several hours of sunlight for photography.

It started out mostly sunny, and within an hour the sky became mostly cloudy, which helps add drama to the images, but also can be more challenging to photograph. All of these photographs were captured using a Nikon D3300 DSLR. I used a Nikkor 55-200mm AF-S DX f/4-5.6G ED lens for most of these images, and a Nikkor 40mm AF-S DX f/2.8G Micro lens for a few of them. Every image was post-processed using Alien Skin Exposure 7 software.

Part 6
Bobcat In Cook's Meadow - Yosemite National Park, California
Yosemite Falls - Yosemite National Park, California
Spires From Yosemite Falls Trail - Yosemite National Park, California
Yosemite Falls Behind Trees - Yosemite National Park, California
The Lower Falls End - Yosemite National Park, California
Lower Yosemite Falls - Yosemite National Park, California
Two Kids At Yosemite Falls - Yosemite National Park, California
Upper And Lower Falls - Yosemite National Park, California
A Yosemite Falls Trail View - Yosemite National Park, California
A Dogwood In Bloom - Yosemite National Park, California
Little Boy - Yosemite National Park, California
Boy, Thinking - Yosemite National Park, California
Tree & Half Dome - Yosemite National Park, California
Yosemite Valley View of Half Dome - Yosemite National Park, California
Clouds Behind Half Dome - Yosemite National Park, California

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