I’ve had the pleasure of perching a camera atop the same fallen tree at an area affectionately called “Valley View” more times than I can count over the last few years. Some long-forgotten torrent lodged two enormous pine carcasses against the roadside on the northern section of the park road loop. Clambering over these giants, I often think of the future torrent that will surely sweep them away.
My goal has been to capture this scene in its dress for each season. I could picture just what the image would be for spring, summer and winter, but what robes autumn would bring to these tufts of river grasses I couldn’t fathom. That is, until I happened upon the Valley in early November, when the last sting of an early fall snowstorm had all but faded.
The grasses were tonsures, still clinging to their white caps of purest snow. The Merced was babbling in the growing dark and we sipped beer as the last rays of a brilliant sunset struck El Capitan. A winter sky stole in from the East as twilight faded—a sky of that perfect and palest blue that only the dry and bitter cold skies of winter can hold. We stayed for a bit, admiring the ghostly layer of fog that began to form over the meadow on the opposite side of The Favor and made a few more photographs before heading home.
I am thankful for many things, too many to list in fact. Yet, were I to make a list, that number would be wholly incomplete without mention of the valley and my family and friends who have shared it with me.