This photo goes well with the photo, "The Creation", I took at the Wawona Tunnel View back in April; and so, I've titled this the same as the last.
Check the comments below for a picture of the location and tripod setup.
Yesterday, I posted the photo of the sunset, which was taken on my way out of Yosemite. I woke up this morning, looked out the window and saw overcast skies. Most people would have stayed home, played board games, watched TV, eat pie (?). My mom asked if I still wanted to go into Yosemite. "Of course," came out of my mouth within milliseconds. The last time I saw condition like this, I got the photo mentioned above.
By the time we got into the valley, it was misting, and around 38° F. My mom stopped the car multiple times along the Merced River, letting me go take pictures, while my sisters played around on the banks and rocks. After about the fourth stop, we crossed the Pohono Bridge, where I took this shot and stopped at the next turnout. I got my tripod, backpack, and gloves out and ran across the highway towards the embankment down to the river.
The next 10 minutes of my life were spent struggling down wet muddy hillsides and scrambling over wet rocks. Fun? Yeah. Actually it was. I rolled my ankle multiple times on wet rocks, nearly dropping my tripod (camera attached) once when it got snagged on a branch.
I don't normally bring my tripod around when I take photos since it is such a pain to lug around, but since I brought it today, I decided to make good use of it and get some long exposures. I set the aperture to f/22 for a nice depth of field and slowed down the exposure. This photo is an HDR composed of three exposures at 1.6 seconds, 1/2 a second, and 1/10 of a second.
After taking these photos, I retraced my steps, climbing back up the embankment, and sprinting once again across the highway. We spen the next few hours in the park, which included about an hour looking for parking at Yosemite Village and waiting in line for sandwiches at Degnan's Deli.
When we were ready to leave, even more clouds rolled into the valley, and my mom patiently waited longer for me to take more photos. By the time I was done, it was nearly dark and the temperature was dropping lower and lower. We started back up Highway 120 towards Manteca and by the time we had hit the first tunnel 500 feet above the valley, it started to rain. Within 10 minutes, we watched as the temperature on the dashboard dropped to 31°F and the rain turned to sleet, then to snow. After getting just past Cascade Falls and the second tunnel, the road had accumulated an inch of snow.
After plowing through the snow for a few minutes, we pulled over at the turnout to put chains on the minivan. We really should have taken our other car, the 4WD with snow tires. When my mom and I got out, the truck behind us tried to pass but the slippery ground combined with the steep uphill turn caused him to nearly slide into our car. After it passed, the driver stepped on the gas, shooting snow out from underneath, but did nothing as the truck slid onto the shoulder. There, it gained traction and continued on its way. Close call.
Later along, my younger sister convinced my mom to pull over so we could throw some snowballs around. The highway was nearly empty as there were few people still driving. We crossed the highway were the snow was piled higher and threw the snowballs back across the highway at our car. We were out in the middle of the road when I looked up the road to see headlights coming around the corner. I thought to myself "just another car..." and stepped out of harms way.
I watched the vehicle come around the corner, felt the ground rumble and felt the air vibrate with a deep roar as i realized a massive snow plow was barreling down the highway shooting snow onto the shoulder. Exactly where my sisters and I were standing. I shouted "SNOW PLOW!" and ran back across the highway to out car. As I turned around, I saw my sisters running up the hill as the snow plow went by. The snow missed them by not more than a few feet. They would have been cold, wet, and miserable. Not good especially for one of my sisters, who had already fallen into the Merced River earlier in the day. Hah.