Tuesday, October 8, 2013


Yosemite National Park is known the world over and really needs no introduction. Thousands of people fly over the park every day but few see it or recognize it if they are looking. Yosemite is quite spectacular from the air, as clearly shown below.

Hetch Hetchy Reservoir, shown near the bottom of this post, was a near twin of Yosemite Valley until it was dammed up in the early part of the 20th century to provide storage for a water supply primarily for use by San Francisco.

More information about Yosemite National Park [wikipedia].
More information about Hetch Hetchy [wikipedia].

2017 Half Dome poking through the cloud lake filling Yosemite Valley

October 2013 Half Dome

October 2013 El Capitan

March 2011, El Capitan illuminated in the late afternoon light

Yosemite valley and El Capitan peeking out from beneath the clouds.

Yosemite Valley, Half Dome at right.

Half Dome at upper right.

Close shot of Half Dome.

Stereogram of Half Dome and vicinity.
Click to enlarge; cross eyes to converge the two images to appear as three.
3-d effect will appear in the middle. Be patient - this gets easier with experience.
(1536px wide version here)

Upper El Capitan brightly illuminated in the late afternoon sunshine. Upper Yosemite Falls can be seen in shadow above and to the right of El Capitan (click to enlarge).

El Capitan stands out in the foreground. To its lower right, and clearly visible during one of the rare times when it's actually illuminated in direct sunshine is Bridal Veil Fall. Half Dome towers over the upper-right corner of the image; below and to its right, in shadow, can be seen Nevada Falls and Vernal Falls. Even Upper Yosemite Falls can be seen (barely visible in shadow) in this shot, up and to the left of El Capitan.
(Click to enlarge)

Wide shot of Yosemite; El Capitan in lower-left quadrant and Half Dome in upper right. The telltale vertical white line of Upper Yosemite Falls can be clearly seen to the upper right of El Capitan. Mono Lake appears in the upper-right corner of the image.

Close shot of El Capitan.
Optical distortion visible at the bottom of the image is caused by the aircraft window.

Yosemite in the summer heat.

Upper Yosemite Falls can just barely be discerned just left of the center of this image.
(click to enlarge)

El Capitan and a good portion of the valley are visible in this view.

Same shot, different day...
Shadows of the late afternoon obscure much of the valley.

Half Dome casts its late afternoon shadow over the trees beyond.

January 2009, El Capitan.

A closer crop of El Capitan.

January 2009, Half Dome.

And a closer crop of Half Dome.

Snow-capped El Capitan peeking out from beneath the clouds.

May 2009, stitched from 4 images. The falls are all in sunlight.

May 2009, more falls in sunlight.

Hetch Hetchy Reservoir Behind O'Shaughnessy Dam

Hetch Hetchy Reservoir Behind O'Shaughnessy Dam, another angle

Thursday, July 25, 2013


From time to time, while flying up and down the west coast, I chance upon a view of a large wildfire. Here is a collection of some of the more spectacular such views.

Aspen Fire

Huge smoke plume from Chips Fire.
The dark spec in the center of the frame is a commercial airliner at cruise altitude.

Tre (Topaz Ranch Estates) Fire
Picture Taken May 22, 2012 at 6:45PM
Tre Fire, another view, 5 minutes later

Rooster Rock Fire and South Sister viewed from 37,000'
Picture taken August 3, 2010
Rooster Rock Fire - A closer view
Moonlight Fire
Picture Taken September 4, 2007
Zaca Canyon Fire
Picture taken August 7, 2007

Wednesday, July 10, 2013


Sunset begins
Mt. Rainier shrouded in a cloud scarf and bathed in the early evening glow
Mt. Rainier with a wispy cloud cap
A Summertime Mt. Rainier protruding from the cloud deck
Mt. Rainier Sandwich at Sunset
Mt. Rainier July 2013

Also check out Mt. Rainier in the Setting Sun and Mt. Rainier in the Sunset Light

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

St. Helens

Mount St. Helens [US Forest Service] Erupted in1980 [Wikipedia], blasting more than a cubic kilometer skyward, obliterating in that moment what had been a pristine wilderness park, turning much of it into a barren moonscape.

Today, some 30 years on, areas of the park that have been under the stewardship of logging companies have been replanted with thick forests, albeit of far less diversity than would occur naturally. Some large areas of the park have not been artificially replanted. There, the post-eruption conditions have been largely left alone except for restoration of a few roads and installation of several view points and associated parking areas, allowing nature to take its course and heal itself at its own pace, and providing an opportunity to observe, document, and learn from this experience.

Today, much of the blast zone is still fairly barren. Spirit Lake remains full of the logs of trees that were blown down in the eruption, covering about 1/3 of the lake surface, floating back and forth at the whim of the winds. In and around the blast areas though, clear signs are everywhere of life reasserting itself. Within the last 5 years or so, small trees that had emerged between the fallen trunks of their predecessors have begun to grow taller. Birds and other wildlife are increasingly found in these areas. It's not hard to imagine in another 25-30 years, this area will look much as it did before the eruption.

Meanwhile, inside the crater, another kind of growth is going on. The mountain itself is healing. At a rate that has been described as the equivalent of a dump-truck full every few seconds, a dome of ash and lava grows. Most of the time a plume of smoke and steam is visible over the mountain; more noticeable during cooler weather when the steam condenses as it rises. Given enough time, even the mountain will eventually return to a conical shape, leaving little surface evidence of that cataclysmic event.

For an up-close and personal look at the mountain, check out this Gigapan.

July 20, 2010

May 13, 2010
Apr 13, 2010

Sep 9, 2008
July 22, 2008

Jan 1, 2008

Feb 1, 2005

Feb 26, 2008

Feb 26, 2008

Apr 4, 2006

Apr 4, 2006

May 18, 2003

May 25, 2006

May 29, 2007

May 29, 2007

May 29, 2007

Jun 7, 2007: Molokini of the North.
Molokini [Wikipedia]
Molokini Aerial [Maui Boat Rental]

Jun 7, 2007

Jun 7, 2007

Jun 20, 2006

Jun 30, 2005

Jul 3, 2007

Jul 25, 2007

Jul 29, 2005

Sep 8, 2005

Oct 5, 2004

Oct 5, 2004

Oct 5, 2004

Oct 5, 2004

Oct 25, 2005

Nov 17, 2005

Nov 20, 2007

Nov 20, 2007

May 1, 2008

Feb 3, 2009

Right now (View from Johnston Ridge Visitor Center, courtesy USGS).