Like all of us, I've had a long year. For me, it's also probably the longest time I haven't traveled in over a decade - let alone being in the house nearly this whole time. But even worse than that, I've never been to Yosemite National Park! Twenty two years of living in California, and Mr. Nature Photographer has never taken it upon himself to go to one of the most spectacular places we have. So I finally got there a few weeks ago, and guess what? It's pretty great! When I got there, snow was melting on the ground, which made for some great photo opportunities. After the weekend crowds left, it was really nice getting around and feeling like I was finally getting away on some of the trails. Some parts of the park were closed because of the snow, but I was able to take in a few of the main attractions. I caught climbers on El Capitan at night with the Milky Way above, and another highlight was catching the famed Half Dome at sunset, where the sun lights up the top of the dome this time of year. The Merced River runs through the park, so I had a good time taking advantage of the water reflections. Unfortunately, I only had a few days to spend up there, so of course I'll have to go back to see what it's like in spring.
On the way home I stopped for a day & night in one of my favorite spots - Alabama Hills. This is a great place at the foot of Mt. Whitney. The whole area is covered in unusual granite boulder formations. Lots of westerns have been shot here, and it's easy to see why. I always enjoy being there, and just wanted to catch sunrise on Mt. Whitney, and got lucky with more shooting stars than I can remember seeing in one night. I've included a few images from this stop as well. (You can click on the pix to start & stop the slideshow)