Autumn Ferns, Tree, and Gully. Yosemite National Park, California. September 12, 2015. © Copyright 2015 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.
Boulders, autumn ferns and a small tree line a Yosemite back country granite gully
For me, intimate scenes like this one define the Sierra Nevada experience at least as much as do alpine ridges and grand scenery. While those subjects are highlights, the feeling of smooth granite, stepping across half-buried rocks and through grasses, finding my way up or down a gully are the core experiences of the place. I wonder if I’m the only person who, when he starts thinking about the sensor experience of the Sierra, mostly recalls these things, along with the sound of gravel beneath boots, echoing off of the rock walls, water flowing in creeks, wind in trees and always the light.
This little spot is probably not one that would get the attention of too many people, unless perhaps they spent a week camped a few minutes from such a gully, crossed it daily on travels around a lake, and often paused to look up and eventually decided to explore a bit. A first glance told me that there was a gully. Another look and I began to see the colors of the rocks and their curve. Returning a few more times I noticed the little spruce tree and the ferns growing among the rocks. And after a week this spot become one more piece of the Sierra as I know it.
G Dan Mitchell is a California photographer and visual opportunist. His book, “California’s Fall Color: A Photographer’s Guide to Autumn in the Sierra” is available from Heyday Books and Amazon.
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