Thursday, September 04, 2008

Westering 18: He Shot Yosemite Valley
From Out of the East a Stranger Came

The view from Yosemite Valley is epic. You’ve heard the names: El Capitan, Yosemite Falls, Sentinel Rock, Merced River, Half Dome. When the legend becomes fact, print the legend. One may think that is exactly what old Ansel Adams did: The Man Who Shot Yosemite Valley. But I’ve seen the fact, I’ve seen these almost mythic landmarks, and not to detract from the careful art of such photos such as Moon and Half Dome, but the fact itself is legendary. It doesn’t need a black and white mythology to make it so.

It needs some silence though. And in the Valley, people mill around like gawkers at a carnival. I should know; I’m one of them. But I’m not floating by within a pedal boat while some amateur photographer is attempting to take a photo of Half Dome over the Merced River. But I wait several of them out, and finally get the picture.

But there are places where the crowd will disappear, and this is one of them. For Half Dome was my living example: I did half the work of getting here and the universe did all the rest. I’m sitting by Tenaya Creek. Behind me is the road to Mirror Lake, but my back is turned to all those people walking to that popular destination. The murmur of the creek is blocking out all the noise except an occasional adolescent scream.

It’s just me, the creek, my journal, and the legendary Half Dome, standing right in front of me, turning all my thoughts of it and Yosemite to ink and paper.

~Son Rivers 2008

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