when visiting a visual icon like Yosemite National Park, one is automatically drawn to the views which are familiar. After years of looking at images created by the masters who, at one time or another, also witnessed the same grand vision through a lens of their camera or measured scales with their paintbrush, carefully composing their gems on canvas, it is practically impossible to look away because you suddenly find yourself inside a masterpiece.
Views like Half Dome, Yosemite Falls, Yosemite Meadows and a ridiculous number of other astonishing sights are pretty hard to keep the lens away from. My seconds, third, fourth, fifth (I have lost track of the number of times I have been utterly overwhelmed by these views to a stupor ) I’ve often joked that Yosemite is a place where one can set a camera on automatic, put auto-focus on, close one’s eyes and start pressing the shutter button…and still get beautiful images. I have to try it one day.
After many prior visits to the park, I happened to look behind me while hiking towards Yosemite Falls; to my delight I found… a heart. Formed by the mountains and the trees, it has been there all along but stayed unnoticed by me all these years.
If planning a trip to the park for the first time, my recommendation is to take the South Entrance via Highway 41. Going through a cozy town of Oakhurst and passing by an enchanted Wawona Hotel, the drive will take about 45 minutes to Yosemite Valley (I strongly recommend motion sickness medication as the first thing to pack along with bug spray) but the Tunnel Viewpoint is what makes this journey worth 5000 extra miles! Just make sure you have plenty of storage for your images and and do a 360 turn now and then so that you don’t miss anything.