Snowflakes, Grass, and Frozen Lake
Snowflakes, Grass, and Frozen Lake. Yosemite National Park, California. January 16, 2012. © Copyright 2012 G Dan Mitchell - all rights reserved.
Fresh snowflakes among leaves of grass on the frozen surface of Siesta Lake, Yosemite National Park.
This past week we had the opportunity to do something that we'll probably not get to do again - drive over Tioga Pass through Yosemite National Park in the middle of January. Until this year, the latest the road had been open was December 31. This year it was still open on January 17, though scheduled to close as I write this. It has been a very unusual weather year in many parts of California, including the Sierra. While the season began with earlier and heavier than usual snow storms way back in early October, this promising start to the snow season was just a tease. A month or so later, the tap was turned off and there was little rain through the end of the calendar year and on into January of 2012.
So with this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity about to end with the promise of snow this week, we drove up the night before and then headed over Tioga Pass Road to Lee Vining and back, stopping frequently along the way. The weather in the morning was a bit of a surprise. I knew that a weak weather system - that had not brought any rain - was departing the Sierra, but we were surprised when we encountered very light snow flurries as we drove up Crane Flat Road to the junction with highway 120, and this continued as we started up Tioga Pass Road. When we arrived at Siesta Lake we found it partly sunny but still trying to snow just a bit. I set up to make a photograph of some trees in cloud-softened light, but as soon as I was ready to shoot the light died! I waited for a while, but finally decided that the light wasn't returning. I decided to wander over to this small lake and see what I could find along the shoreline - and I found these dormant grasses, half submerged in winter ice, with a sprinkling of snowflakes on the surface of the ice.
G Dan Mitchell is a California photographer whose subjects include the Pacific coast, redwood forests, central California oak/grasslands, the Sierra Nevada, California deserts, urban landscapes, night photography, and more.
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