Coming to grips with Yosemite

Journal Entry:

Entering Yosemite was invigorating. Down the winding road, tree filled gullies and peaks could be seen in the gaps of rest points, or beyond silhouettes of the trees around the road. Emerging from a tunnel, we received our first clear view of the valley; a place cemented in silver after years of viewing, but calm blue skies replaced the shuddering clouds, and tourists crowded the frame as we tried to fit inside.

A sudden sense of defeat. My spirits are low after venturing out near the campsite, and having the truth strain any remaining vigor from my intentions. I can’t do this place any justice – any more than the hundreds wandering with their eyes fixed to the eye piece of their cameras, clicking away, and smiling at the playback on the LCD.

On the shores of the Merced I watched the sun falling, and things glowing, and a porcelain moon in the opposite, eastern sky  above the granite. Aiming high or low, I know the bar has been set by the hand of god, and my hands feel inadequate focusing, tripping the shutter, winding the reel. Thirteen frames down, two more on the roll, and not enough film in the world to begin this story.

Apologies for all of the dust. I don’t have photoshop, and there is dust inside my scanner, so it’s hard to get rid of in the scans. Images captured on Kodak Tri-X 400 120 film. These are not finished photographs, just rough ideas.

Please note: most images posted from this roadtrip will be available for purchase. You can check out the new contact/purchasing tab (or click the blue lettering) for information.

16 thoughts on “Coming to grips with Yosemite

  1. If these are just rough ideas, the finished photographs are going to be very special indeed. I really like these James. There is a quality to these pictures that is difficult to define but I keep going back to them.

    1. Yeah, they are just from the contact prints (you expose an entire roll of film on to paper just to get an idea what’s in the negatives). Thanks for the great compliment – if you figure out what it is that’s drawing you in, I’d like to hear.

    1. Ha… maybe I shouldn’t have said anything. There’s even a giant fingerprint on the last photo. Glad they still hold up, though – thanks for letting me know.

  2. James!
    These are stunning.
    Number 5 is a real standout, like a drawing. Full of mystery and delicacy.
    Because of the softness and ethereal beauty of these, the dust spots don’t detract for me.

    Truly gorgeous, and your own gentle vision so strongly expressed. Congratulations.

      1. I honestly didn’t remember shooting this roll, but seeing them made me realize that I didn’t compromise my vision, which I felt in retrospect that I may have done. I remember now, through looking at these, exactly how I felt at the time I shot them. You brought up mystery and delicacy, and those both were huge factors in what I was going for, and I’m glad you validated that.

        Also, thanks for that link. I was laughing pretty hard at some it, and then nodding in recognition of the rest.

  3. I think Ansel Adams was probably equally as humbled by the landscape before him. My favourite image is the one of the fragile, skeleton-like tree in the dark, but the illumined grass in the foreground.

    1. He was, but he also did justice to the grandeur of the place. I wouldn’t say he glorified it, because seeing it in person is something else, but he came pretty close. Thank you Anna.

  4. Well done Jameson. Truly great stuff. Love the cracked tree stump. A lot. P.S. – let’s g-chat soon. Much love from China.

  5. Wow, I’m blown away, I seriously am…these are absolutely magnificent, James. As for the dust, well, I can’t help but agree with your reply to Lauren, you shouldn’t have said anything! It certainly doesn’t detract, in fact I think it adds a certain sense of, I don’t know, “affection” to them? As for ‘rough ideas’, man, these are perfect as is…Divine.

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