Yosemite Winter 2023

Galen Rowell was the first non-native American to photograph and publicize how the last light on Horsetail Falls lights up orange and red at sunset if conditions are right. Ansel Adams may have also photographed it in black and white but didn’t tell people about the color. Nowadays, photographers from around the world make a pilgrimage to Yosemite Valley every year, hoping to catch a photo of the phenomenon. The illusion of a lava colored waterfall dropping from a snowfield 2,000 feet above the valley floor is irresistible to photographers even though chances of seeing it are dicy. The first time I went to Yosemite in February, there wasn’t enough snow on top of El Capitan to make a decent waterfall. I went anyway because, hey, it’s Yosemite, one of the most beautiful places in the world. There was plenty to see and photograph that trip. I took a particular interest in figuring out the best places and times to see rainbows on the numerous waterfalls thundering down the cliffs that time of year. I met one photographer on that trip who had come for eight years and never seen the fire fall. I’m telling you, as dicey as it is to get the shot, it’s like catnip to photographers.

On two subsequent trips with my wife (2016 and 2017), we saw and photographed the fire fall from a number of locations along the Merced river from Southside Drive.

I didn't write a blog of that trip in 2017 but I'm including a shot of that fire fall below:

Fire Fall From Southside of Merced River 2017

Untitled photo

This year, the Park Service closed all Southside locations due to their concern that the banks of the river could collapse under the photographers gathered there. I understand that concern. There are very few places with a gap between the trees along the river and hundreds of photographers stand to close to the edge. When I was there, I stayed back ten feet but a dozen photographers crowded in ahead of me on the edge. I had always intended to photograph from under the fire fall on Northside Drive. Now that is the only legal option. The Park Service is also requiring reservations to enter Yosemite Valley during the week and a half when it is possible to see the fire fall because so many people want to come at this time. That should help with the crowds.

Given that I know Yosemite valley well, you might wonder why I chose to join a workshop with Jeff Sullivan and Lori Hibbett of Great Basin School of Photography Tours. The answer is that I have been out with both of them at a workshop in the ghost town of Bodie and with just Jeff and me on two trips, one to the Racetrack Playa and a second time focusing on Dunes and Badwater. I know the quality of their work and in particular, respect the amount of knowledge they have. While I know a dozen times and places to see Yosemite rainbows, Jeff has a spreadsheet listing many more. I know they will take me to the usual good locations but also to their own secret places I haven’t photographed before. Besides, they are good company.

After I signed up, they invited me to share the cost of renting their friends cabin, just outside Yosemite Valley but inside the park gate. Arriving a little early from my 6 hours drive from Los Angeles, I decide to drop off my things at the cabin before meeting the group at Tunnel View around 4:00 PM.


Untitled photo


Untitled photo

February 17

Tunnel View is one of the most photographed spots in the world and for good reason. It is jaw dropping beautiful. I almost cried the first time I saw it as an adult. I couldn’t believe it was as beautiful as I remembered from my childhood. 

By the way, when I was a kid Curry Company used to push a huge mound of burning embers off the cliff above Curry Village. That was the fire fall of my youth. It was a nightly occurrence all summer. The Park Service banned the practice in 1968 after a dispute with Curry Company.

Tunnel View Dusk

Untitled photo

The view is better than the last time I was here as the Park Service has removed all the dead pines, leaving a carpet of green in the valley below. Also, I haven’t seen Bridalveil Falls with so much frost on the surrounding cliffs before. This is nice! Feels so good to be here.

Bridalveil Ice

Untitled photo

While at Tunnel View, I enjoy meeting the other participants in the workshop. They are all such interesting and engaging people. I look forward to shooting with them over the next 5 days.

Never Saw the Tunnel with Icicles Before

Untitled photo

February 18

The following morning, we meet again at the Sentinel Bridge parking lot to catch sunrise over Half Dome from the bridge. There are no clouds, the sky is flat and uninteresting. That and the extreme difference between light and dark means that any photo would have to be combined from a series shot at different exposures. Even then, it would be colorless. After sunrise we go out into Cook’s Meadow for shots of the morning light on Yosemite Falls. The golden light with all the ice from frozen mist around the falls is lovely. It's 23 degrees F and I can't feel my right thumb. I was in too big a rush to get my hand warmers started and I can't use my camera with a glove on. Jeff has a pair of gloves that he says allow him to work his camera. I will do some shopping when I get home.

Upper Yosemite Falls From Cook's Meadow

Untitled photo

Golden Light On The Falls

Untitled photo

We Move East For A Rainbow On Upper Yosemite Falls

Untitled photo

While the rest of the group has breakfast at Curry Village, I head back to the cabin to eat and have a shower. On my return trip to the valley, I stop at a viewpoint I have never seen before and take a shot of El Capitan appearing very near Half Dome.  It is something of an optical illusion as El Cap and Half Dome are quite far apart.

Optical Illusion

Untitled photo

When I rejoin the group, we head to a nice spot on Southside Drive where we can get reflections of the Three Brothers and El Capitan in the Merced.

Three Brothers Reflections With Elizabeth For Scale

Untitled photo

Ice On the Shore Is Lovely

Untitled photo

Given the crowds that gather for the fire fall, we decide to grab lunch to go and establish our spots at the El Capitan picnic area. The location is about a two mile walk from where we can park near the Yosemite lodge. The Park Service has blocked off all parking on Northside drive and used cones to reserve the left lane for pedestrians. Fortunately for us, Lori has a handicapped placard and can drive our gear to the tiny parking lot near the meadow where we set up.

By 1:00 PM, the meadow already has a number of photographers and tourists staking out their spots. It is quite a scene, especially given that the show won’t really start for another four and a half hours. As the area fills up, I am amazed once again at how considerate and friendly the crowd is. No one is smoking, drinking or being rude. Everyone is there to share in the awe and wonder of nature, enjoying the camaraderie of the group. I can forget the awful news of world events and be proud to be human in this crowd.

My Cameras Are Up Four Hours Early - More People To Come

Untitled photo

Jeff (And a Lot Of Others) Are Behind Me

Untitled photo

Shadows Narrow The Light On El Capitan

Untitled photo

The long wait at El Capitan meadow is lovely because of the kindness of people but a little tense in that we don’t know if there will be light on the falls at sunset.

The way the illusion works is that the nose of El Capitan casts a shadow across the face of the rock as the sun goes West, causing the illuminated area to shrink until only Horsetail Falls is lit. Then as the sun goes down, diffraction in the atmosphere gradually blots out cooler colors, making the falls turn yellow, then orange and if we are lucky, red. The problem is that any cloud or even haze on the Western horizon will dim or eliminate the color at sunset. So even if there has been enough snow on El Capitan and enough heat to melt it to make a waterfall, you can wait most of the day and not get a shot of the fire fall. This happens more often than not. Furthermore, it can appear that a cloud has blocked the light and just at the very last minute, the falls can light up when half the people are packing up to go. This happened to me my first time, so we told the people standing near us to hang in there and not leave until we do.

Sure enough, at about 15 minutes to sunset the waterfall turns grey as the sun drops below a cloud. You can feel the disappointment in the crowd. Ten minutes passes and many take down their tripods and pack up for the two mile hike back to the Yosemite Lodge parking area.

We wait.

Then, literally at the last minute, the waterfall lights up red and all of us start whooping and hollering. We all take our final shots before the light fades completely.

Very Last Light On Horsetail Falls

Untitled photo

Now we pack up and hike the two miles back to the Yosemite Lodge area where we have reservations at the Mountain Room for dinner. The meal is pricey but delicious and all of us in the group have a delightful time getting to know each other.

Trout With Chutney At The Mountain Room

Untitled photo

February 19

We start next morning at Tunnel View. The weather report looks good for some nicely lit clouds at sunrise. I guess everyone else read the same weather report because the parking lot is jammed already before sunrise. We park in the back lot and head out to the viewpoint. Turns out the view is not that special. The most interesting photo that morning is of all the cars completely filling the parking lot so no one can leave. We are glad to escape the rear lot.

Tunnel View Parking Lot

Untitled photo

Crowded at the Viewpoint

Untitled photo

We head down to breakfast and to a different meadow with another view of Upper Yosemite Falls. Jeff and Lori have the timing on rainbows and locations down to a science.

Rainbow On Upper Yosemite Falls

Untitled photo

From there we proceed to Valley View. I experiment with using a 14 mm lens. I also head downstream to get another viewpoint.

New Angle On Valley View

Untitled photo

Another Nice Spot At Valley View

Untitled photo

We decide to again grab some food to go and head down to the meadow near El Capitan Picnic area. Once again it is a fabulous gathering of photographers and nature lovers. Lori starts talking to another photographer who turns out to be a Facebook friend of Jeff and Lori for the past 10 years. Her name is Kathleen Croft. She works on assignment for National Geographic and spends a lot of time in Norway. I have wanted to go to Norway for Northern Lights and also to Greenland for icebergs in Disco Bay or Scoresby Sound, so I join the conversation. She is a wealth of information. I hope to go out shooting with her someday or at least pick her brain for good photo locations and travel tips.

Late Afternoon Light On El Capitan

Untitled photo

Shooting The Fire Fall Video

Untitled photo

Excitement At The Fire Fall

Very Last Light

Untitled photo

February 20

The next morning we agree to meet at Lower Yosemite Falls. For some reason, I get there a half hour before the rest of the group. It is icy near the bridge where I set up to shoot the rainbow. I am glad to be here as soon as I am because as the sun rises, the rainbow moves down towards the base of the falls. Currently, it is only about a third of the way from the bottom.

Lower Yosemite Falls Rainbow

Untitled photo

When another photographer very politely asks me if he would be crowding my shot by getting near my tripod, I thank him and we introduce ourselves. His name is Joe Reese. He has a gallery on the Columbia river, near Portland. He has never shot the fire fall before and is disappointed not to be able to get the shot from Southside Drive. He tells me he found a place near 4 Mile Trail that is not restricted. In return, I tell him about a shot up the hill from Lower Yosemite Falls where I got a moon bow shot. We head up together and get some good rainbow shots.

Lower Yosemite Falls

Untitled photo

Just as we are finishing up he says, “Turn around.” I see a squirrel scamper off the rock behind me. I turn my tripod around, level it and prepare to photograph where the squirrel was.

Joe says, “He’s gone.”

I say, “He’ll be back.”

Sure enough, within a minute the squirrel returns and poses in the sunlight on the rock. I take a shot and say, “The squirrel is going to use it as his new Facebook photo.”

In reality, I figured the squirrel would return to sun himself on that same rock. We are all creatures of habit.

Squirrel Glamour Shot

Untitled photo

Squirrel's Facebook Photo

Untitled photo

When I come down off the hill, I find the rest of the group. We go from there to a spot along the Merced that Jeff and Lori like to shoot reflections in the water. I imagine this is particularly nice in Fall.

Half Dome Reflection

Untitled photo

While Shooting Leading Line Over Merced, A Rumbling Sound

Untitled photo

While we are there, we hear a loud rumbling like jets going overhead. Lori looks up and says, “That could be a rockslide.”

A few minutes later, a fog rolls through the trees. Since the day is cloudy, I think at first that it is just fog. Then one of our group says, “Could that be smoke?”

I take a deep sniff and say, “No. That smells like dirt.”

What it turns out to be was atomized granite from a rockfall. We soon hear sirens coming down Northside drive, an ambulance and two Park Service police cars. We get back in our cars and head down the road. I see I have service on my phone so I call my wife and relay what I am seeing on the road.

By the time we get back to Yosemite Village, traffic is a near standstill. On top of being President’s Day, when the park is open free to the public instead of being restricted to reservation holders like us, Northside Drive is now closed to vehicles wanting to exit the park. The Park Service has divided Southside Drive to accommodate two way traffic but hasn’t stationed an officer to direct cars down what is normally a one-way road. As a result, cars are just packed tight, not knowing where to go. We decide to park at Yosemite Lodge as usual and hike across Swinging Bridge, cross Southside and follow the trail that Joe Reese earlier said was not marked as restricted.

From there, we hike partway up the mountain and find breaks in the trees just big enough for one or two tripods to get a view of Horsetail Falls. This is how I find myself sitting alone framing a vertical shot while perched on a hillside, waiting for the sun to set. Compared to the Woodstock-like crowds of the past two days, this is a serene experience, broken only by the occasional sound of rock and ice falling off the cliffs above.

There is more meltwater in Horsetail Falls today so the mist is better and the falls reach farther down. I can only frame a vertical shot from my vantage point and I have to focus stack the near trees and exposure stack the sky but I like this shot with sunlight sparkling on the pine needles.

My Solitary Spot

Untitled photo

Focus Stacked and Bracketed Fire Fall - Worth The Effort!

Untitled photo

We all hike back separately and gather once again at the Mountain Room for another delicious dinner. While there, I walk around the dining room looking at the photographic prints on the wall. The best ones to my eye have a simplified color palette, usually blue, white and gold. They are elegant.

I am not a fan of black and white images but I understand the attraction, particularly in Yosemite. A huge part of most images in the Sierra is grey granite. That's why we are frequently off chasing rainbows or looking for colorful skies, fall colors, the fire fall or wildflower blooms. There is just so much grey. Lichen on the rock gives some color, as does low angle direct shafts or reflected light but there is a lot of grey.  Black and white focuses on the structure of the image and the range of values (black to white) and also has the virtue of simplification.

As photographers, we often obsess over detail. I have sharp lenses and a high resolution camera to capture the finest detail possible in my images. Then I increase resolution by focus stacking, exposure bracketing and doing panoramas that capture over a gigabyte of information but our eyes and minds like simple. We convert detail into an abstraction in our minds so we can easily relate to what we're seeing. When I see a friend approaching, I pick out a few highlights to know it is my friend and discard the rest of the information. We simplify to understand.  This is one of the virtues we enjoy in paintings or watercolors. Much detail is lost in the artist's broad strokes but enough is present to evoke an impression of the scene while still leaving room for our imaginations. Having a clearly defined subject is therefor key to a good photo and while we can use sharp focus can direct our viewers gaze (as when the eyes of a person in a portrait are sharp but the rest of the face is of and the background is completely blurred), we have to simplify our subject matter. Naturally, this flies in the face of our attempt to capture the grand scenic landscape that is inspiring awe as we stand before it.

There is also an element I call mystery present in the best images. Mystery is something that can't be seen, perhaps the subject is obscured by clouds or fog, or we wonder what lies beyond on that inviting path that curves around a bend, or sometimes the juxtaposition of unusual or contradictory elements (such as a lunar rainbow), sometimes the range of light exceeds our vision such as a darkened silhouette or blown out highlights. I spend a great deal of energy trying to capture as much detail in as wide a range of light (because I can always blur or blow out information but I can't return what I didn't capture), but my best images have something that can't quite be seen, making the viewer want to continue looking to resolve the mystery. The more time the viewer spends looking at the image, the more intriguing it is.

February 21

This morning we meet again on Sentinel Bridge for sunrise over Half Dome. It is a popular spot for photographers. I am delighted with the color in the sky this morning. I'm going to discard all the dull shots from the other day.

Half Dome Sunrise From Sentinel Bridge

Untitled photo

Lori urges me to go to Cook’s Meadow for a reflection shot but I stay behind to get a good one from Sentinel Bridge. When I finally catch up with her, I realize what I had missed. What a great spot. I vow to return to this spot another morning.

Half Dome Reflection

Untitled photo

As the sun gets above the horizon, we go to yet another location for a rainbow on Upper Yosemite Falls. This time I try it with at 600 mm.

Rainbow At Base Of Yosemite Falls

Untitled photo

Then we head back to the area I call Three Brothers Beach for more reflections. The ice is gone so I am grateful to have gotten shots of it yesterday.

Merced Curve Below El Capitan

Untitled photo

I Love This Redbud Reflection

Untitled photo

More Reflections - Reminds Me Of A Monet

Untitled photo

From there, we head over to Swinging Bridge for some shots of the falls and river.

Swinging Bridge

Untitled photo

A Muddy Puddle Reflection In A Location I haven't Seen Before

Untitled photo

We stop again at Valley View. Lori shares one of her shots with me to the point of telling me which rock to sit on and which underwater rock to put my tripod leg on. I call this Lori's Shot.

Lori's Shot

Untitled photo

From Valley View, we go back up to Tunnel View for after noon and hopefully sunset. Clouds make the view more interesting from that vantage and also make another try at the fire fall pointless.

Tunnel View Afternoon

Untitled photo

From Valley View, we go back up to Tunnel View for after noon and hopefully sunset. Clouds make the view more interesting from that vantage and also make another try at the fire fall pointless. We gather again at the Mountain Room for a delightful meal and conversation. This group has all become friends quickly. As we eat, we watch snow falling outside the floor to ceiling windows.

When we emerge from our meal, the courtyard is full of kids throwing snowballs, making snow men and generally having a blast in the fresh powder.

When I reach my car, it is covered in 3 inches of fluffy white. I scrape the windows as best as I can and start driving out of the parking lot. Based on the few tracks I see leading out of the parking lot, snow on the road is closer to 5 inches deep. Other than my headlights, it is pitch dark. The road is completely blanketed in white as are all signs. I slowly find my way to Southside Drive so I can head out of the park to Foresta, only to find that it is no longer a two way street. I slowly turn and find my way back to Northside Drive. There is no sign saying Northside is open but it is not blocked so I proceed. Again, there are no reflectors or any indication of a road. I don’t see another car or even tracks in the snow, just an elongated wide spot between the trees indicating where the road should be. The snow and mist is blowing so hard into my windshield, I can barely see anything. The snow on the road is quickly getting deeper. I know the turns of the road well so I have some sense where I am but other than blowing white in my headlights, it is completely dark.

My Subaru In The Parking Lot

Untitled photo

Finally, I get out of the valley. From here, the road is steeper and the snow is just as deep. Though my Subaru has all wheel drive and all-terrain tires, I feel my wheels spinning and slipping as I go uphill. I sure as hell don’t want to drive down the steep road toward the cabin without chains, so I stop in a lighted tunnel and start putting them on. Unfortunately, I can’t fit both my hands over the top of the wheel to link the chains on the inside, so I am struggling for about 15 minutes when the only car I see that night enters the tunnel and slows.

“Do you need any help?” the driver asks.

“Yes,” I reply, swallowing my pride. “I’m having a hard time getting my chains on.”

The driver, a man who appears to be in his early thirties hops out to lend a hand. “I’ve only done this once,” he says in a Southern accent.

“My name’s David,” I say, extending my hand.

“Derrick” he says, shaking mine.

“I have the chains laid out correctly. I just can’t get them to hook in back. I can’t fit my hands in there.”

“I’ll give it a try,” he says.

After he gets the first one, he heads around the other side of the car. I reach in my wallet for a $20 and go to his open cab window. His wife is sitting in the passenger seat. “Your husband is a good man,” I say, “and I know he wouldn’t accept anything for stopping to help but I really appreciate it,” I say dropping the $20 on his seat.

“Thank you,” she says. “He is a good man.”

With the chains on, I have the confidence to drive down the steep road to find the cabin. As I pull out of the tunnel, my phone rings. It’s Lori saying, “Just checking up on you. Need any help?”

“No. I’m about two miles out and should make it okay. I stopped in the tunnel to put on chains.”

“That’s why my call wouldn’t go through,” she says. “How do you like driving in a real blizzard?”

“There’s a first time for everything,” I say. “Glad to be almost back. See you in a few minutes.”

That night due to the cloud cover, Jeff texts the group that we can sleep in tomorrow and meet at Sentinel Bridge parking lot around 7:00 AM. I decide to get up at 4:30, pack up and hit the road around 5:00 AM so I can get to Cook’s Meadow for dawn. I want those reflections in the pond and I am hoping for a break in the clouds.

February 22

I carefully drive back up the hill from the cabin and enter the valley. Mine are the first tracks in the snow but at least it is no longer blowing in my face. Coming across the Pohono Bridge and up Southside Drive, I can feel that the road is iced up under the snow. I drive carefully to Sentinel Bridge parking lot and head out on the path bordering the meadow. Before I get very far, I am struck with the beauty of a lone apple tree in the meadow in front with Yosemite Falls in the background. The mist from the falls is steaming up into the sky above the cliffs. It is blue hour and I can still see a number of stars. I quickly set up my tripod and begin taking long exposures. Since I want no noise in my shots, I set my A7r4 to ISO 100 at 30 seconds. My lens is a Sony 24-70 mm, set to 24 mm at f2.8.

The scene is breathtaking. I feel so lucky to be here and get this shot. Dozens of stars are visible in the full image. The clarity of the scene, the limited color palette, the juxtaposition of stars, all add up to a great image. Being here certain inspires awe in me. This one I may print.

Blue Hour Light From Cook's Meadow

Untitled photo

Next I head over to the reflecting pool. Light is just starting to break to the right of Half Dome. The scene is as I pictured it, with pillows of snow on the rocks in the pond and the meadow covered in white. Absolutely lovely! The snow has simplified the scene, reducing detail and color palette, highlighting the reflection of Half Dome in the pond. There is some version of this I may print (I have panoramas, vertical and tight compositions to choose from) but I will keep working with it to get a version that really pops.

Half Dome Reflection In Snow

Untitled photo

Another View Of Half Dome Reflections

Untitled photo

After a while my new friend Jay arrives. He joins me in the shot and then we take more on our way back towards the parking lot. I set up another time lapse and while that is running, walk back to my car for my thermos of hot water and a sandwich. I feel on top of the world.

I also bring Jay hand warmers from my car.

"What do I owe you for these and the ones you gave me yesterday?" he asks.

"You're of Indian descent right?" I ask.

"Yes, I was born in India and lived all over the country when I was growing up."

"I love Indian food, so I would appreciate if you could send me some of your favorite recipes."

"Happy to. Better yet, you can come to my house and I will teach you. There is an art to it."

"Sounds good to me," I say.

First Light On Yosemite Falls

Untitled photo

By now the rest of the group has joined us.

When we gather in the parking lot, Jeff says, "Follow me. We'll stop at a few places on our way to Tunnel View. We don't have much time before a larger storm moves in"

After stopping in a meadow by El Capitan, we proceed on down to Valley View. It looks like a fairy land in the snow. I am glad for all the time spent scouting it that last couple of days. I know just where I want to go for the best shots.

El Capitan Wrapped In Golden Mist

Untitled photo

Fairlyland At Snowy Valley View

Untitled photo

Bridalveil In White

Untitled photo

At Valley View Jeff says, “We have a short window before the snow starts coming down hard again. I suggest everyone follow me. We will end the workshop and part company at Tunnel View.”

“Tunnel View is next?” I ask Jeff.

“Yes,” he replies. “I’ll be along shortly.”

I drive up to Tunnel View and set up my tripod. It is absolutely gorgeous. Again I am glad for all the time spent here framing the view and practicing panoramas and practicing focus stacking. I am so ready for this moment.

My favorite shot is a seven vertical stitched panorama while a shaft of light was hitting El Capitan. It took a lot to develop as my camera interpreted all shots of primarily snow to be a blown out sepia tone (I should probably carry a white card to incorporate in a test shots I can  calibrate color when developing later). When I got home, I had to process each color in separate Photoshop layers. The original panorama is three times taller but I cropped all that out as it distracted from the main subject. This will easily print six feet wide with excellent detail (The dimensions are 16,560 × 6,775 pixels).

Referring back to my earlier musings on what makes a good photo, the subject of this photo isn't the view from Tunnel View, it is the contrast between the bright, warm shaft of light hitting El Capitan and the darker, cooler colors of the snowy scene. That's why I chose to discard two thirds of the pixels when cropping for this view.

Seven Shot Panorama At Tunnel View

Untitled photo

Detail Crop of El Capitan From Tunnel View - Maybe The Best Version - Simpler

Untitled photo

I am running two tripods as usual, one for photography and the other for a time lapse. By the time the rest of the group arrives, the clouds have started to close in and darken. I ask Jay to watch my gear while I get another sandwich out of the car. A crow keeps close watch on me while I eat.

Crow Eyeing My Sandwich

Untitled photo

With the light gone, I say goodbye to my new friends and make one more loop through the valley. I get a few shots for the atmospheric effects of clouds and snow obscuring the view and stop at the Sentinel Bridge parking lot to take off the Yaktrax from my shoes.

El Capitan In The Snow - Simplicity and Negative Space

Untitled photo

Jay pulls into the Sentinel Bridge parking lot as well and says he is going to have some food at Degnan’s before heading out but perhaps we could caravan and have lunch at an Indian truck stop he knows outside Fresno.

“Sure,” I say. “I’ll stop as soon as I can to take off my chains and wait for you there.”

The place I chose to stop is the parking lot at Cascade Falls, just a short way downhill from exiting the park.

Cascade Falls

Untitled photo

Jay joins me and we caravan together towards the Central Valley. He is ahead and stops by the side of the road for a shot of a rocky hillside with some oak trees. Tired as we are, he was right to stop.

On The Road Home

Untitled photo

When we arrive at the Punjabi truck stop, it is everything he said it would be. Very authentic. Jay orders for me in Hindi. The portions are huge.

Indian Truck Stop

  • Untitled photo
  • Untitled photo
  • Untitled photo

One other customer comes in, a young man of African descent. He is shocked when he sees the size of his portions.

I say to him, “You get a lot of food for your money here.”

He replies, “Sure do. Are you guys local here?”

“No,” I say. "We're both from the Los Angeles area. We are just up here on our way back from photographing Yosemite.”

“What kind of camera you shoot?” he asks.

“An expensive one,” I reply.

‘No seriously. I shoot a Sony A9.”

“Sony A7r4,” I say.

“Come look at these shots on my phone,” he says. “I lead wildlife photo tours in Tanzania. You should check out my website. Ever been to Africa?”

“No but I hear it is life changing.”

“Come out with me.”

I look at Jay and say, “What are the odds the only other person in an obscure Punjabi truck stop outside Fresno is a professional photographer?”

The connections just keep happening. It’s not just that everything is possible, everything is probable. What a crazy, beautiful world. As we continue our drive down highway 99, an enormous rainbow appears in the sky, ending in the road ahead of us.

That just about says it all.



PS - After we left, the Park Service closed Yosemite because they received 15 inches of snow! Our timing was perfect. Thank you Jeff, Lori and all the other workshop participants for making this such a fun and magical trip.

Powered by SmugMug Owner Log In