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Same scene, Different Era – Yosemite Valley

Imagine strangers invading your neighborhood, burning your house to the ground, ransacking your local grocery store, and taking over your town.

Could you make a living in a foreign culture that invaded your world? Could you hold your family together?

Could you survive?

Miners by the thousands invaded the Sierra Nevada (Yosemite) foothills during the gold rush from 1849 to 1851. Some Indians struck back and raided a trading post, killing several miners. In 1851, a band of volunteers formed the Mariposa Battalion, sanctioned by the state of California, to rid the area of the perceived threat of Indians. When they entered Yosemite Valley, they burned villages and food supplies and forced men, women, and children away from their homes. When the Indians returned, Yosemite was no longer theirs. New settlers had claimed it as their own.

Surviving communities
Surviving communities
Captain Paul (Yosemite Indian)
Captain Paul (Yosemite Indian)

The Yosemite people did whatever they could to survive in this strange world in which they found themselves.

[ – Adapted from the Yosemite Museum text ]

Yosemite and Photography

Yosemite has lived along with the history of photography and photographers. Pioneer photographers started taking pictures of the Yosemite as early as 1800s. They carried all the equipments and chemicals all the way up to the mountains and setup temporary darkrooms with the help of tents. Those were the “mammoth” cameras capable of producing 18 inch by 22 inch glass plate negatives. Carleton Watkins (1829 – 1916) is one of the notable photographers of that time whose stereoviews of Yosemite influenced on establishing Yosemite as a National park in 1864. In the 1900s, Ansel Adams (1902-1984), one of the most celebrated photographer, took many visionary photographs of Yosemite. His works have made a huge impact in the popularity of the Valley as well as shaping the people’s relationship to nature. Ansel mostly used the large format camera (black and white) which was comparatively far more flexible than that of Carleton’s but still way large and inflexible compared to present day SLR and DSLRs. In the contemporary era, another generation of photographers explored the color version of Yosemite. Galen Rowell (1940-2002), Michael Frye and Keith Walklett are some of the photographers distinguished by their daunting pursuit of capturing Yosemite at its best.

Today hundreds of photographs of Yosemite are being taken everyday by visitors and photographers from around the world. Preservation efforts and maintenance of the natural wilderness are executed at its best possible way. It seems Yosemite will continue to bewilder its visitors for many years to come.

Lower Yosemite Falls
Yosemite Falls

This cascading Yosemite falls is the highest measured (2,420 ft) waterfall in North America (6th in the world). It has actually three sections – upper falls, middle section and the lower falls. This one is a view of the upper falls as seen from the Ansel Adams Gallery, few blocks north from the Visitor Center.

Mirror Lake and the Half Dome
Mirror Lake and the Half Dome

I was expecting Mirror Lake would be some kind of a lake. But when I arrived there, the lake has merely enough water to be called as a lake.  This seasonal lake is actually close to disappearing due to sediment accumulation.

Water Wind and the Rainbow
Water, Wind and the Rainbow

This is a close view of the Lower Yosemite falls. She was pretty dynamic in that morning. I tried to reach closer to her from her left side but there was so much rain coming down. When I came to the other side then only I could see the rainbow kissing her feet!

Technical Note:
Canon 40D with Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 XR Di II
Cokin GND, ND and CPL filters
All most all of the photographs are shot RAW. None of them are HDR

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