El Portal Fire


There really is no reason for me to provide yet more depressing news about the fire just outside the gates of Yosemite.  There’s lots and lots of websites that will provide the information you’re seeking.  What isn’t being said is the cause of the fire— and while I’ve heard rumors, I know nothing concrete and so I’ll hold my tongue.  While it is smokey here in Yosemite Valley, I suspect most of it is from the Dark Hole Fire, on the Yosemite Creek drainage.  Every morning smoke can be seen pouring over the waterfall outside my trailer.  There is very little water now, barely a trickle.  

Fires in Yosemite have become old hat to me.  It seems just about every year there’s another month of smoke and ash.  I’ve almost become blasé.  

I shot this image on my Mamiya RB67 Pro S on Ilford Delta 400 film.  I developed the negative and then scanned it on my Epson Perfection V700 scanner, and processed it using Lightroom.  I just wish I could have gotten a shot of the DC-10 that rose up from behind the ridge and scared the crap out of me!  Perhaps tomorrow I’ll go out to El Portal and get some more shots of aircraft and personnel.  

Give back to the park!

Did you know that there’s a drop-in volunteer program in Yosemite?  If you’re going to be in the park for a few days, consider spending a morning doing some volunteer work.  From the NPS Yosemite website: 


“Drop-In Volunteer Program” Provides Hands-on Experience Working in Park

Yosemite National Park is seeking help from the interested people to assist in preserving, restoring, and enjoying Yosemite Valley. Experienced work leaders will guide each day’s group and explore some of the park’s most precious resources in Yosemite Valley. No experience is required and all ages and abilities are welcome to participate in the program.

Every Wednesday morning, now through Labor Day, September 1, 2014, volunteers are invited to meet park staff in front of the Valley Visitor Center at 9:00 a.m. The program lasts from 9:00 a.m. to noon. Volunteers should be prepared wearing long pants, closed-toe shoes, long sleeves, snacks, water, and sunscreen. Gloves, tools, safety gear, and extra water will be provided.

There is no pre-registration required for individuals, but groups of 10 or more are encouraged to call in advance to reserve their spot. Children under the age of 14 must be accompanied by an adult. Upon registration, volunteers will be asked to fill out a Volunteer Service Agreement.

This is the 9th year of Yosemite’s drop-in volunteer program. Current volunteer projects include removing invasive plant species from meadows and surrounding areas, collecting seeds for rehabilitation projects, and planting seedlings to support sensitive plant communities like the California Black Oak trees (Quercus Kelloggi) in historic locations. This program provides visitors and local residents with the opportunity to work on important projects that protect park habitat, improve park appearance, and enhance the overall visitor experience.

Volunteers wishing to participate in this drop-in volunteer program should visit http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/hapy.htm or call the Yosemite Volunteer Office at (209) 379-1850.

Independence Day, 2014



Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be critical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be careful. Strive to be happy.

© Max Ehrmann 1927