Sunday, 26 April 2015
Thursday, 23 April 2015
I'm by no means an expert on Yosemite, we spent a grand total of two days in Yosemite Valley but here are a few tips I can offer you. If you want to read about what we actually did when we were there you can check out the blog here with lots more photos.
Early mornings and late eveningsPlan to get there (your photo location) at least 30 min before sunrise and to leave at least 30 min after as the light begins long before sunrise and finishes long after sunset. It is also the time when the contrast between the sky and the land is lower so it fits within the cameras dynamic range better and when you get the best light on the clouds. It is also worth noting that the gate western entrance gate is a long way from the Yosemite Valley and the road is quite slow and windy which adds to your drive time (probably in the dark).
|El Capitan and Half Dome from Tunnel View Lookout well after the sun had set|
|Removing a whole lot of powder from the car in Montreal|
Thursday, 16 April 2015
Will was not by any means convinced that Disneyland was a good idea. However, it was close enough to my birthday to make going my gift from him so away we went. As it was winter, there was a lot of maintenance going on, so a number of the big name rides were closed - no It's a Small World, no Splash Mountain, no Matterhorn Bobsleds. Other rides were out of the question because I get ridiculously motion sick (which would make you question my desire to go to amusement parks...) so no Mad Hatter's Tea Party (I can't even watch that one) though I unwisely went on the Star Wars Tour and Space Mountain and needed a good, long, quiet sit down after each of those.
Tuesday, 14 April 2015
Arizona snow storm. He said it was the highlight of his trip so we did a google image search and it quickly made our list.
Aside from the dramatic scenery Death Valley is known for being a hot (like very hot), dry, stark place that people seem to like going running in. By the time we were there in late Jan or early Feb it was not too hot, not too dry and in places there was even snow on the mountain peaks (even although we weren't far from the uncommonly snow free Yosemite). The valleys and mountains that make up the area are spectacular, particularly in when the weather is doing cool things like busting out some rainbows.
Monday, 13 April 2015
|A real live otter in the wild!|
In service of this aim, we started our Big Sur trip with a drive to a small marine reserve called Point Lobos. It, like the rest of the Big Sur, is gorgeous. Dramatic cliffs and rocks rising out of an azure sea and all that. You will be able to see that in the photos. What you can't see in the photos is that Point Lobos smelled freaking amazing. I have no idea what it was. I tried to make my fervent sniffing as subtle as possible. A lovely place to linger. There were lots of sea birds including some truly ugly brown pelicans (Will objects to my calling them ugly. They look much prettier in his photos) and egrets that stood on the top of the kelp out at sea, so they looked like they were walking on water. As we were watching the sky turn all sorts of spectacular colours, we saw an otter! He was just chilling in the ocean, fluffing his fur, twisting and turning in the ocean, generally looking like he was having a good time.
Friday, 10 April 2015
We had a flying visit to San Fran as we realised that we had way too much to pack into our last week out west. A visit to Death Valley (post to arrive soon) came highly recommended so we decided to make time.
San Francisco is a nice city of steep hills with cool houses and the need for mad parking skills but we didn't really know what to do with our one day as tourists. A bit of research showed up Alcatraz, Fisherman's Wharf, Lombard St and the Golden Gate, so we formulated a plan.
Alcatraz was actually pretty cool. I was a little skeptical but the stories were interesting and I think I got some cool industrial detail photos that I wouldn't normally go looking for. Jackie obviously loves the whole morbid history of the place.
Wednesday, 8 April 2015
|View of El Capitan as you enter the Yosemite Valley|
We were rather hoping for snow, since seeing the national parks in winter was kind of the point, but California was having a warm spell, so no snow for us. There was a plus side to this, since there were extremely confusing and ambiguous online rules about having snow chains on your tyres to enter the park - and you can't put snow chains on a hire car. On the down side however, given we were there on a weekend, that everyone in San Fransisco had decamped for Yosemite. We saw some interesting tourist behaviour, like a guy who, having had a friend take about 300 photos of him in front of the same bit of rock, took his shirt off to get a further 300 photos in front of the same rock, only this time with no shirt on, and a mother who pushed her perhaps 8-year-old daughter ever closer to a clearly nervous fully grown male deer, stacked to the rafters with antlers, so she could get a good photo. Hmmm. It's moments like that you really wish you weren't a 'tourist' because it's a word that puts you into a group with some serious idiots.