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Yosemite in Spring

No other photo location in North America can generate as powerful an image of soaring granite monoliths and spectacular glacially-carved valleys than Yosemite National Park in California. More than any other landscape, Yosemite is the setting that defines the Sierra Nevada and, in a broader context, stands as a geographical icon for the American West. Within the park, the names of its prominent features—El Capitan, Half Dome and Bridalveil—not only immediately evoke the legendary presence of John Muir and Ansel Adams, but also embody the quintessential symbols of the American wilderness. In 1864, Abraham Lincoln set aside the Yosemite Valley and the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias by a federal grant—the first time in history lands had been set aside and protected purely for their scenic value.

The world-renowned Yosemite Valley is the heart of this photogenic realm of canyons, domes and spires, and expansive meadows. Here we spend hours of pleasurable photography time capturing its many moods. From grand vistas to quiet reflections, and from colossal crags to diminutive dogwood and redbud blossoms, the valley is the acknowledged source of photographic inspiration for generations of photographers.

In springtime, a trip to Yosemite is about water! Our cameras focus on a drama that transforms the park—and the name Yosemite becomes synonymous with waterfalls. As winter snows melt, water pulses through countless steep canyons before making a freefall plunge over the towering granite cliffs into the valley's wild core. Year-round, Bridalveil Fall and Yosemite Falls are legendary, but springtime yields additional meltwater to cascades that make a short seasonal appearance: Horsetail, Staircase and Ribbon (the park's highest single fall), and numerous others.

The picturesque Merced River that collects the water from Yosemite's cascades was designated a National Wild and Scenic River in 1987. Eighty-one miles of the river runs through Yosemite National Park, including a stretch in Yosemite Valley that marvelously reflects the surrounding rock formations.

Join our leader, Jeff Vanuga, in May, when the summer crowds are few and the waterfalls are many!

Day 1 (May 11)

Participants arrive in Fresno, California, by early afternoon today. We offer round-trip transportation to Yosemite National Park. (D)

Days 2–6

We spend these five days exploring some of the best photo opportunities in the park. Within the Yosemite Valley, we shoot the classic icons of this remarkable landscape—Half Dome, El Capitan, and the Tunnel View—and capture the stunning spring waterfall display. White effervescent cascading waters enter the valley from myriad creeks and tumble from sheer granite walls. Merced River reflections create innumerable opportunities for beautiful landscape images. Dogwoods erupt in luminous blossoms and western redbuds blaze magenta. We photograph the soaring columnar trunks in a grove of giant sequoias and learn how to make incredible images in this magical place of light and shadow. (BLD)

Day 7 (May 17)

We drive to the Fresno airport this morning. Please schedule your return flight for no earlier than noon. (B)

Tour Details

May 11–17, 2014
$3,695 from Fresno, California

Terms & Conditions

"The Joseph Van Os Photo Tour was the perfect way to experience Yosemite for the first time."
—R. Duckworth

"With so much to photograph in Yosemite it is wonderful having a guide to get you to the best spots at the right times. Great photo tips! I'd have less than half the images if I did this trip by myself!"
—C. Kaznell

"Interesting trip with enjoyable trip-mates. Lots of opportunities to shoot in all conditions."
—S. Franklin

Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris, Inc. P.O. Box 655, Vashon Island, Washington USA 98070
Phone: (206) 463-5383 Fax: (206) 463-5484 Email: info@photosafaris.com
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