Sally D’s Mobile Photography Challenge: Nature (Yosemite Falls, Yosemite National Park)

01 August 2016


Yosemite Falls, Yosemite National Park; Copyright © 2014 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved

Yosemite Falls, Yosemite National Park; Copyright © 2014 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved


Recently, I was contacted by a member of the Light team to submit an image to their Vantage Point Project that is seen on Pinterest. Light is a new compact camera that combines digital technology (aka Smartphones) with single lens reflex optics. The L16 camera is sold out before it’s even packaged for shipment, which is scheduled for early next year. As I perused their website to learn more, I understand why people are awaiting its debut: its technology breaks the boundaries of past DSLR cameras. [This post acts as my submission to the Project.]

I was asked to choose an image that evokes place—a place that has had immeasurable influence on my life’s journey, especially visually. My photographic archive is stacked with thousands of images. How to select one?

I am a relentless critic and editor of my work, both my photography and writing. If I take hundreds of images, for example, I may like a hand full and love maybe one or two.

Throughout my personal journey life-changing moments have circled around place—place that is at the intersection of human nature and Mother Nature. There is a trio of epiphanies that are a wellspring of these memories. Each occurred in a national park, but they could just as easily happened in my backyard. And they have.

The ones that bubble to the top were in the Southwest and West, where the land alone can build one’s spirituality, and it certainly did mine. That trio happened in Zion National Park (Utah), Cedar Breaks (Utah) and, most recently, Yosemite National Park (California). Yosemite easily has moved into first place as the experience of all experiences.

On a road trip with a dear friend in 2014 we pointed our destination southward to Yosemite. Our starting point was Nevada City, California. Since my first sighting of Northern California, I was in love—in love with the raw land, the effect of the internal visual landscape and the lifestyle. But Yosemite brought those feeling of unflinching reverence for nature to an inner place that stilled and rocked my soul all at once. Tears welled and my soul expanded.

The image that I selected for today’s challenge and Light’s Vantage Point Project is the quintessential memory of that occasion: my first sighting of this remarkable national park. But even as the photograph freezes and punctuates a moment in real time, the image as story boldly marks more than a visual replica. This single image of Yosemite had a transformative effect: one that is forever engraved in the mind’s way of seeing and interpreting.

I selected this image for its lasting effect, but also because it evokes a specific message: nature is the quintessential master of the universe, and human nature is but a small element in Mother Nature’s wonderment. I decided to convert the photograph to monochrome, because stripping the color removes distractions and helps to emphasize scale. While I had my Nikon DSLR, I used my (then) iPhone 4s, which did capture the sense of place and its majesty.

[On my return from travels to Northern California in spring 2014, I posted about my days at Yosemite National Park, which can be viewed here. The following two paragraphs are my own and included in that 26 May 2014 post.]

With master photographer Ansel Adams’ portfolio and the government’s protection of Yosemite’s wild, this area has become a haven for the world to admire and embrace. It’s a place to disconnect from a world bent on constant connection. It’s a place longing to survive the newness of life and the history of glacier intervention. I felt privileged to bask in the monoliths that hail from the past and live in the present.

For me there is a riveting sense that accompanies the notion that I stood gazing at an expanse that Ansel Adams and environmentalist John Muir coveted. That I saw what they saw. Truly, I could sense a modicum of their emotions and reactions to the bounty of a place that defies what is real to our mind’s eye.

**** If you are interested in participating in Light’s Vantage Point Project, click here and express your interest on their website. Under the header view their Support page, and you’ll find information to contact them. ****

Tip of the Week:

Hope that you read and reread this quotes by environmentalists from the twentieth century who were unquestionable two of America’s greatest advocates for the conservation, preservation and protection of the wild.

John Muir (1838-1914)

“Nature is ever at work building and pulling down, creating and destroying, keeping everything whirling and flowing, allowing no rest but in rhythmical motion, chasing everything in endless song out of one beautiful form into another.” from Our National Parks, (1901)

“Come to the woods, for here is rest. There is no repose like that of the green deep woods. Here grow the wallflower and the violet. The squirrel will come and sit upon your knee, the logcock will wake you in the morning. Sleep in forgetfulness of all ill. Of all the upness accessible to mortals, there is no upness comparable to the mountains.” from John of the Mountains: The Unpublished Journals of John Muir, 1938

“This grand show is eternal. It is always sunrise somewhere; the dew is never dried all at once; a shower is forever falling; vapor is ever rising. Eternal sunrise, eternal dawn and gloaming, on sea and continents and islands, each in its turn, as the round earth rolls.”

Ansel Adams (1902-1984)

“When I’m ready to make a photograph, I think I quite obviously see in my mind’s eye something that is not literally there in the true meaning of the word. I’m interested in something which is built up from within, rather than just extracted from without.”

“Yosemite Valley, to me, is always a sunrise, a glitter of green and golden wonder in a vast edifice of stone and space.”

“There are no rules for good photographs, there are only good photographs.”

“In wisdom gathered over time I have found that every experience is a form of exploration.”

View other entries for this week’s challenge:


As always I welcome comments about this post or any part of my blog. My photographs for the mobile photography challenge are taken with an iPhone 6.

****If you would like to buy a print of any of my photographs or have any questions, please view the Contact Information found on the masthead. Thank you.

If you’d like to join this Mobile Photography Challenge, please click here for details and history of the challenge. If you have any questions, please contact me. Below is a reminder of the monthly schedule with themes for upcoming challenges:

1st Monday: Nature.

2nd Monday: Macro.

3rd Monday: Black and White.

4th Monday Challenger’s Choice (Pick One: Abstraction, Animals, Architecture, Food Photography, Night Photography, Objects, Panorama, Portraiture, Still Life, Street Photography, and Travel).

5th Monday: Editing and Processing with Various Apps Using Themes from the Fourth Week.

This entry was posted in Black-and-White Photography, Human Nature, Mobile Photography, Nature Photography, Photography, Traveling and Travels, Writing and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

36 Responses to Sally D’s Mobile Photography Challenge: Nature (Yosemite Falls, Yosemite National Park)

  1. This is a wonderful and stunning photo, Sally!

  2. Maria F. says:

    Classic landscape, love that stream!

  3. Nato says:

    I’ve never been there but it looks so grand! Now I want to see it too! I love that you give us some quotes too. I love the emotion and information you share with us:)

  4. restlessjo says:

    Oh, goodness! I was almost holding my breath as I read this. A stand and stare moment I would love to have, Sally. 🙂

  5. Wonderful image, Sally. I need to go back to Yosemite.

  6. thirdeyemom says:

    Wow Sally I’m truly amazed at the advance in technology for cameras. Even iPhones are amazing. Gorgeous photo!

  7. Amy says:

    This is an amazing image, like an Ansel Aams, I agree with Andy!

  8. lumar1298 says:

    Wonderful photo… Nature can be the most relaxing thing for me unless I run into an expected animal…

  9. RMW says:

    Beautiful photo and one of my favorite places.

  10. Angeline M says:

    Magnificent photo, Sally. And definitely Ansel Adams came immediately to mind. Your decision to use monochrome was the perfect finish to bring out the beauty even more.
    I look forward to finding out more about the new compact camera, Light.

  11. Beautiful photo – very much like Ansel. Love it

  12. Su Leslie says:

    Truly stunning Sally. I agree with what others have said.

  13. Love your line “nature is the quintessential master of the universe” Your photo does say the same.
    So rare to see few people below the falls. Provocative image.
    Happy Monday Challenge

  14. pattimoed says:

    What a stunning photo, Sally. I can easily understand why that sight inspired you on many levels. Gorgeous work.

  15. A beautiful photo, Sally. And I love this: Of all the upness accessible to mortals, there is no upness comparable to the mountains. Now that I’m living in the Blue Ridge Mountains, I must agree with that quote! I decided I like it so much because I always feel like I’m on vacation! LOL! Have a wonderful week!

  16. Andy already expressed my thought: very like Ansel Adams and evocative of an earlier time before the park became so popular and crowded. Just wonderful, Sally.

    I enjoyed the quotes very much, especially as I’m in a place where the soul-fulfillment of nature happens every day. In a few minutes, I’ll walk to the corral, then ride for several hours, reveling in the beauty of the mountains and forest. Such a blessing!


  17. Andy Oldham says:

    Very nice! Like an Ansel Adams!😃

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