Snow in Yosemite: Yosemite Panorama Photos 2014.12.22

Yosemite in Winter  
By John P. DeGrazio 
Panorama from Dewey Point by John P. DeGrazio

Winter is here and so is the snow. Recent storms have dumped over 3 feet of powder in the Yosemite high country. Here are a few panorama photos taken from a recent Yosemite Snowshoe Adventure. The hike begins at Badger Pass along the Glacier Point Road to Summit Meadow and then to Dewey Point. All photos taken on an iPhone 5 with no filters.

Making Tracks in Yosemite by John P. DeGrazio
Summit Meadow Under a Fresh Blanket of Snow by John P. DeGrazio


Matterhorn Peak & Other Fall Images: Yosemite Panorama Photos 11.10.14

Autumn in Yosemite 
By John P. DeGrazio 
Looking Into the other side of Yosemite National Park in the Eastern Sierra from Matterhorn Peak by John P. DeGrazio

November is the perfect month to fall into the beauty of Yosemite National Park. Here are some panoramas from recent adventures at Matterhorn Peak and Yosemite Point up the Yosemite Falls trail. Although Matterhorn is in Yosemite National Park, the hike starts in the Eastern Sierra at Twin Lakes. You enter the Hoover Wilderness before traversing Horse Canyon into Yosemite. This is a highly recommended hike, but only if you’re willing to scramble on talus for long periods of time. The last image of dogwood trees was taken along the Big Oak Flat Road.

Clouds Rest, Half Dome, Glacier Point, & Sentinel Dome from Yosemite Point by John P. DeGrazio
Dogwoods Color Yosemite National Park by John P. DeGrazio

Here for Half Dome: Yosemite Panorama Photos 10.22.14

Make Yosemite Your Destination 
By John P. DeGrazio 
Panorama from the Summit of Half Dome by John P. DeGrazio

I had the opportunity to lead a late season Half Dome hike yesterday with a new friend, David from Singapore. While discussing what led David to Yosemite on his first visit to the United States, his story immediately impressed and inspired me. David comes from an island nation whose highest elevation is 163.63 metres (537 ft.). Like most of us, David likes adventure gear. One particular company (Salomon) struck his fancy. I also really like Salomon footwear, and I am currently enjoying my latest pair of Eskape Aeros. David likes to run and never really trekked before he visited the Salomon website. While surfing the site, he noticed a lot of people enjoying themselves on various trails. That piqued his interest. Knowing he was to arrive in the United States for a conference and training, he decided to purchase a pair of trail runners. Since he would be in Las Vegas and Los Angeles, he decided he would also like to explore one of the crown jewels of the American National Park system. Ultimately, he chose Yosemite National Park, and that leads us to our story.

Panorama from Motivation Point on the Half Dome Trail by John P. DeGrazio

We began our morning early and made our way up the Mist Trail ahead of the sun. We started fast, but our pace wasn’t sustainable. David had hit a wall and was struggling as much as any first time Half Dome hiker. I assured him we would continue at his own pace and his safety was my number one priority. We were less than one mile from the summit when we reached a vista I like to call Motivation Point. David was certainly motivated and he began to take each step with more confidence. From this point he shared one of the most memorable quotes I have ever heard on this trail. His legs were starting to hurt and he apologized once more for his slow pace. After I wouldn’t accept his apology (like I need an excuse to spend extra time up there), he saw the cables for the first time. He had been telling me his story about how he made it to Yosemite and took another break. At that moment he gazed at the summit turned to me and with excitement,

“Forget the conference, I’m here for Half Dome!”

We continued and were soon at the top. From there he was overjoyed and a bit overtired. It was a great day full of lasting memories and interesting photographs. David knew he was going to the conference but his decision to extend the trip into Yosemite helped make a positive change in his life. He concluded this was his greatest adventure.

Here are a few panoramas I collected from the trail.

Backlit Aspen Trees Panorama by John P. DeGrazio
Tall (Up Arrow) Aspen Tree Panorama by John P. DeGrazio


Half Dome from Panorama Trail on the XTreme Hike: Yosemite Panorama Photos 9.29.14

Beams of Light Through the Clouds 

By John P. DeGrazio 

Half Dome in a September Storm from the Panorama Trail By John P. DeGrazio

Once again, we were honored to lead the Northern California Chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation on their Xtreme Hike this past weekend. 37 hikers completed the hike from Yosemite Valley to Glacier Point and raised over $80,000. Several continued on to Sentinel Dome, and some of us even experienced a brief snowstorm there. Throughout the day, our group evolved as a coalition of several teams, and we emerged on the Sentinel Dome summit as “Team All Storms”. We traveled down the Panorama Trail for, well, extraordinary panoramic views on our return to the Valley. It was an exciting day, and one we will always remember. Thanks to all who participated and donated to this wonderful cause.

Editor’s Note: As summer has drawn to a close, please expect an increase in volume of stories and photos from Yosemite. I have a nice new library of images to share over the coming months. Thank you for your patience while I was out exploring.

Half Dome View on Yosemite 150th Anniversary

Yosemite 150 Year Celebration June 30, 2014  

By John P. DeGrazio 

Yosemite Superintendent Don Neubacher in Mariposa Grove Celebrating 150 Years of the Yosemite Grant by John P. DeGrazio

Today, we celebrated the 150th anniversary of the Yosemite Grant. On this day in 1864 President Abraham Lincoln signed the Yosemite Grant protecting Yosemite Valley and the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias for all time. We participated in many festivities in the Grove and the Valley amidst the summer heat. On our departure from the Valley, we made one last stop at Half Dome View to gaze out into the blue sky and imagine what it must have been like for the first people to set their eyes on this wondrous landscape. Today, we are grateful that Yosemite is protected for all to enjoy in perpetuity.

Half Dome View on the 150 Year Anniversary of Yosemite by John P. DeGrazio

Obscurity | Yosemite Panoramas 6.10.14

Obscure Photos From Better Known Locations 

By John P. DeGrazio 

Glacier Point and El Capitan from the Summit of Half Dome by John P. DeGrazio

Those who have shared time with me in the mountains know that our days are filled with equal parts photography, natural history, and laughter. At some point in the day, I often share a movie line stating it is my affliction to insert that quote into a situation where I feel it’s appropriate. The obscure lines seem to be  the most effective drivers of my comedic attempts. Anyone who has played the game knows that the amount of laughter can increase with the level of obscurity. But one must be careful because if you go too obscure, you run the risk of losing your audience.

Anyone who writes a blog can relate to that last statement. All artists can, for that matter. There is an aversion to being too mainstream in most areas of our culture. In fact, “show me something that hasn’t been done before” tends to be a prevailing criticism of Yosemite photographers. It’s why I crave the summer hiking season when I can share daily Instagram photos from Yosemite trails that are only open a few short months every year. Although I receive great feedback from our followers, I often feel that this blog and these photos sit in relative obscurity.

Yosemite Falls and Valley with the Merced River from the top of Sentinel Falls by John P. DeGrazio

As I mentioned earlier, all photographers feel that sense of being underexposed at times, to use a photography term. Even some of the most popular photographers I know have discussed this with me on some of our adventures. That is why it feels really good to be recognized by someone for your work. Up until a few months ago, my joke was I have the best blog that no one reads. We have seen measured traffic increases since our web design overhaul and understand it’s a process so I’ll save that rant for another day. I really do enjoy the feedback from everyone. Just the other day, one of our biggest fans shared with me how they believe some of our posts are written directly about them. They specifically shared how we inspire them to act with a high standard of ethics. It was very touching.

The bottom line is I share photos I believe are interesting, and satisfaction is derived from getting people excited about Yosemite. I am grateful for the feedback, and it’s also meaningful to receive recognition from photographer peers and members of the media. Just this past weekend, our Tumblr Yosemite Photo Blog which is a combination of this blog and our Instagram page was featured in a Modern Parenthood article in the Christian Science Monitor titled “National Trails Day: Explore America’s great landscapes online first” by Lane Brown. Thank you again, Lane. This recognition inspires me to go out and find new images to contribute.

The True Summit of Half Dome, Clouds Rest, and the Clark Range from the Rounded Dome of Half Dome by John P. DeGrazio

I wanted to post these images from some well known locations in the spirit of the movie line game and our endless quest to rise above obscurity. All three photos reveal lesser known vistas from two of Yosemite’s most popular trails. Have you been there?


Beauty at Every Stop: Yosemite Panorama Photos 6.6.14

Iconic Panoramas From Classic Locations 

By John P. DeGrazio 

Half Dome with Nevada and Vernal Falls from the trail by John P. DeGrazio

Every day is a great day in Yosemite National Park. While our mission is to bring you to one area to truly appreciate and connect with the natural world of the park, we sometimes agree to lead multi-stop private trips to get a taste of adventure without exerting as much of an effort.

Yosemite Falls Up Arrow Panorama from Swinging Bridge by John P. DeGrazio

This past week, I was out with a lovely couple from New Zealand, and we enjoyed a few shorter hikes and covered a lot of ground. Here are two panoramas from that trip including an Up Arrow shot of Yosemite Falls.

Memorial Day: Yosemite Panorama Photos 5.26.14

Photos to Say Thank You from Yosemite National Park 

By John P. DeGrazio 

Today we remember all those who have given their lives to protect our freedom in the United States. Our national parks would not be available to us if not for the ultimate sacrifices made by these brave men and women. For that, we are eternally grateful.

Panorama from Taft Point by John P. DeGrazio
Panorama from Sentinel Dome by John P. DeGrazio
Sentinel Dome Panorama by John P. DeGrazio
Glacier Point Panorama by John P. DeGrazio
Last Light on El Capitan by John P. DeGrazio

Up Arrow Panorama Photo Update: Wednesday Wanderings in Yosemite 5.7.14

Introducing a New Way to Use Your iPhone in Yosemite National Park 

By John P. DeGrazio 

Introducing the Up Arrow Panorama with Half Dome at Sunset by John P. DeGrazio

Innovation is at the heart of every great artistic movement. Over the past three years, I’ve been amazed with the technological advancement of cameras, and phone cameras in particular. I currently own an iPhone 5 and will be looking forward to the release of the 6 which I am anticipating will be in the fall. One of my favorite features of the 5 is the Panorama setting in the Camera app. I have been playing around with a few ways to hold the camera and even posted about it in a recent blog post about capturing waterfalls with an offset angle. This past week, I feel I have mastered a couple new techniques, one of which I am calling the Up Arrow Panorama. It feels like I have been shooting in the park nonstop these days, which means I have a huge backlog of photos and stories to share. There are two magical trips I will be writing about in the near future, but here are the panoramas from them for now. Stay tuned…

First Light on Yosemite Valley with Half Dome by John P. DeGrazio
Rainbow at the Base of Vernal Fall by John P. DeGrazio
Vernal Fall and Spray by John P. DeGrazio
Nevada Fall and the Merced River by John P. DeGrazio
Back Side of Half Dome with Clouds Rest by John P. DeGrazio
Yosemite Falls and Ponderosa Pine Treetops by John P. DeGrazio

Give Me Liberty and Some Snow: Yosemite Panorama Monday 4.7.14

Photographing Panoramas of Nevada Fall and Liberty Cap 

By John P. DeGrazio 

Nevada Fall from Top to Bottom by John P. DeGrazio

Landscape panorama photography is becoming one of the more difficult challenges I am finding these days. The concept seems easy enough and the iPhone does a great job with ease of use of this feature. However, there are many challenges a photographer is faced with when pointing to the sky to capture a landscape. Further, it becomes even more difficult photographing something uneven like a waterfall. I made a go of it this week on a hike to Nevada Fall. After trudging through a little snow and ice, we made it to the top of the waterfall for some fun and photos. While on top of Nevada Fall, I decided to try to capture a very unorthodox view of the waterfall. This was probably one of the hardest photos I’ve ever tried to take, and it took several attempts. I think the result is pretty good.

Nevada Fall Drop by John P. DeGrazio

The second photo is also a bit out of the norm but I’m trying new techniques with mixed outcomes. The third one shows how impressive Liberty Cap really is.

Liberty Cap and Clouds by John P. DeGrazio