New Yosemite Galleries, Winter Photos, Black and White and more.

Golden Light on El Captitan

I put some of the pictures I shot last weekend in Yosemite online. My Yosemite Gallery has become so large, that I had to split it into 3 sub-galleries. At first I planned to sort by area, but I have far more pictures of the Valley, so I decided for these 3 Galleries:

  1. Yosemite in Winter
    Yosemite in Winter is incredible. I find this is the time of the year when the park is most beautiful. It often requires to wait for good light though.
  2. Yosemite in Summer
    In Spring Yosemite Valley is very beautiful with all waterfalls carrying full water. Glacier Pass road is open and gives some amazing views. In Summer Tioga Pass is open for a visit to the high country.
  3. Yosemite in Black and White
    Yosemite in Black and White is my first attempt at Black and White photography.

I hope you enjoy the new photographs as much as I did taking them.

Yosemite Firefall (Horsetail Fall) - new Photos 2006

Yosemite Firefall - Golden and Red comparison

Yesterday I got lucky (once more) after a couple of days without the Firefall effect showing up. Yesterday I even managed to see the blood red version of the Fall (about at the exact time the sun sets). About 30-15 minutes before Sunset, one will see the Golden Fall, where the Sunlight is reflected. At Sunset, the moment when the sun will have to shine almost horizontally through a lot of atmosphere, the blood red fall will show up. The red Firefall will only show up for a minute or so, until the Sun finally sets. I only wish I would have had more water coming down. I guess I have to go again ;-)

Update: I wrote a tutorial on How to photograph the Firefall. Check it out if you wish to photograph this for yourself.

Brrreeeport: Next Weekend in Yosemite

Yosemite Firefall  Next weekend (Presidents Day weekend), I will be travelling to Yosemite National Park again. Hopefully, I will be able to catch an even better shot of the Firefall, a Phenomenon that only occurs at the end of February.
It looks as if it is going to snow a lot, which means I won't be able to shoot this fall. On the upside, this means nice snow pictures.

Day 15 - Lima

catacombs in San Francisco Monestary Lima

We spent the last day of our wonderful Peru vacation in Lima. In the morning we visited the San Francisco Monestary. The Monestary is probably best known for its catacombs (picture). Its baroque interior and art works are world famous. Since El Presidente was going to give a speech, access to the Plaza de Mayor was somewhat restricted.

In the afternoon we visited the Museum of Archeology and Anthropology. The Museum features some of the finest art work of pre-Inca civilization, Inca arts and crafts, gold, spanish conquistador items and recent Peruvian historical Items.

It was certainly a vacation that I will never forget. The people in Peru are very friendly and cheerful. The country is very diverse and beautiful with so many different impressions that will always be part of me.

The flight was terribly long but otherwise o.k. Immigration took extremely long, probably because all Peruvian citizens need visas. The flight from Atlanta to San Francisco was very bumpy because of the weather.

Photo shot with Canon 20D and Canon 24-85mm Lens

Day 14 Lima / Pachacamac

Pachacamac Ruins near Lima

The involuntary stay in the Hostal in Juliaca was terrible. The hotel was located on the Plaza de Armanas (generally the best area in any town). Cars with broken mufflers and people shouting across the plaza at 4am made for a night with little to no sleep. Back at the airport everything was still chaotic, but we made it to Lima with 14hrs delay (hurray). So here is an important lesson for everyone travelling in Peru. If you have a connection flight to your home coutry, plan at least one day in Lima (city tour).

Tired as we were, we still took a cab to Pachacamac (see picture). This site is located close to Lima and has pre-Inca as well as Inca ruins. We spent the rest of the day in Lima recovering. We have to get up early tomorrow for our city tour (there seems to be some confusion wether it will be tomorrow or not). This means we have to check out tomorrow morning, spent the day in hot and humid Lima and then catch a flight at night to Atlanta and then to San Francisco. This means two days of stress. Hopefully we will sleep better tonight.

Photo shot with Canon 20D and Canon 24-85mm Lens

Day 13 - Stranded

What else can you expect from Day 13. We are stranded in Juliaca, because of bad weather in Cusco (where our flight was originating). Lan Peru was incapable of getting another machine and after they left us sitting for 3 hours they even failed to announce that nothing is happening today. They simply were too busy. So I am in a hotel in Juliaca now (not the most pleasant city). No refund, no money for the Hotel. Basically Lan gave us the finger. The next flight is scheduled (why do I have to laugh now ?) for tomorrow morning.

Day 11 & Day 12 Andean Explorer and Lake Titicaca

Yesterday (12-26-2005) we took a ride on the Andean Explorer in First Class. This train is traveling through the Andean mountains for 10 to 13 hours (depending on how much cattle will be on the tracks). Our ride took only 10 hours. This photo was shot from the lounge wagon at the very end. This wagon even had a little open space at the end for photography. The scenery was truely spectacular and our seats were actually armchairs. The food was pretty good too. I enjoyed this so much, that the 10 hours passed by very fast. We had one stop at the highest point of the track (around 4300m or so).

Today we took a boat cruise on Lake Titicaca. As our tour guide told us, the Peruvian side is the Titi side while the Bolivians got the Shaft (or kaka). I am sure in Bolivia they tell the story the other way around. The weather was very nasty during our cruise out and the boat smelled horribly like gasoline, so that Dani and I stood outside in the rain as the gasoline smell made us sick (Dani fed some fish). Fortunately on the way back we had a little sunshine. At this altitude (the lake is around 3830m high) the sun is really dangerous. Anyways we visited two pleasant Islands (Taquile and Urus) of which Urus was the most interesting. This is actually a group of floating islands. The islands are made of reed and are maintained by their inhabitants (as the bottom fowls away the top is replaced with fresh reed). People live their all their lives. Walking on the islands is quite interesting as the bottom is rather soft. You get the feeling that you should not stand in one spot for too long or you would sink into the lake.

Photo shot with Canon 20D and Canon 24-85mm Lens

Day 9 and 10 - MP - CUZ - Sacred Valley

Yesterday (Christmas Eve) I had no internet access due to the celebrations. We spent that morning in Machu Picchu (see picture). We had planned to stay until 2 pm to be able to catch the busride down and our train. At around noon torrential rains started and we left Machu Picchu to spend the time until the train left in Aquas Calientes. When we were finally ready to leave, the porters of the hotel escorted us to our train. We showed the tickets, jumped in and took our seats in a full train. It was only after quite a while, that we noticed this was not our train. It was the vistadome train, that arrived earlier in Cusco. Fortunately, we did not get kicked off the train, as noone noticed the mistake. When we arrived in Cusco, the train station emptied quickly and we were forced out into the cold. We couldn't wait for our scheduled ride. A nice security guard helped us to get a taxi, negotiated the price and made sure the driver was legitimate (seems like the train station is not safe at night). As a tourist, you are always taken care of by special police forces and security guards.

Today we went on our sacred valley tour. They did not visit the Pisac ruins, only the market. Fortunately, we already visited them on our own. I would not want to have missed this great site.  The tour was pretty good (as good as a rather large group tour can be).

Everything in and around Cusco is set up for tourists to spend money. We visited 2 markets and even took people on our bus to sell things.

Tomorrow Morning we will take the train to Puno through the Andean Mountains. This is going to be very interesting.

I hope all of you had a good Christmas. In Peru, Christmas is celebrated almost like New Years in other countries, with private fireworks going off at midnight all over town.

Photo shot with Canon 20D and Canon 24-85mm Lens