Sunday Stills: Photographing #Near and #Far

Lighthouses from Afar

This week, our Sunday Stills photo challenge is to photograph something from afar, then get close to the object or scene and take a close-up or image from a reasonable distance to show more details. Reach into your archives or take some new photos for the challenge.

This week’s challenge was inspired by the following photographs of a small grove of ornamental cherry trees on a residential street in my neighborhood. They bloomed early in February and put on a “stop the car” show.

Small Tree Grove just in Bloom
Spring brings clouds of blossoms
From 2017

Once I got out and took the shot, I walked closer and noticed the blossoms were alive with bees!

Blossoms and Bee up close

I am glad I took these when I did, as the north winds have since blown away the delicate blooms.

This photo was taken at 20,000 feet on a flight from Sacramento to San Diego over Yosemite Valley. Not bad for a window shot and I took the liberty of marking the main peaks for you. What is astounding to me is to be able to see the high country of Tuolumne Meadows at the top portion of the image!

Yosemite Peaks from Afar

As close as I can get is this shot of Half Dome from Glacier Point in Yosemite Valley. My brother and my two daughters have taken the hike up Half Dome. It is strenuous and I admire those who can devote an entire day (12-15 hours) to the hike. This is close enough for me, thank you.

Half Dome View from Glacier Point
Half Dome View from Glacier Point

Valley floor view of Half Dome in Spring, shrouded with clouds.

Clouds Hide Half-Dome in early spring

Ten years ago, in February 2010, was my first trip to Baja Sur, Mexico to meet my not-yet husband on his windsurfing vacation in La Ventana. We toured the area south of there and came across these lighthouses. The shorter one was in the process of being replaced by the active, taller structure. With binoculars, you can see this peninsula from La Ventana and you can make out these structures (don’t have that shot to share with you).

Lighthouses from Afar

We were able to climb into the old lighthouse for the “near” shot you see of me!

Inside the Lighthouse

As host of Sunday Stills, I am always pleased whenever you share your photos each week. I am always excited to welcome new bloggers who join the challenges. Please welcome and visit our five new participants who joined in February!

I’m linking with this week’s Lens Artist Challenge Change Your Perspective!

Open Your Eyes, Too!, Unfold and Begin, Ramya Tantry, Jacqui Biggar–Author and Zebra’s Child.

Of course, I always take my own challenges literally, but you can be as creative as you wish! Have a great week!

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Sunday Stills: The People’s National #Parks

Half Dome View from Glacier Point

Did you know that today, Sunday, August 25th is the National Park Service Anniversary? So what, right? The NPS celebrates this day along with two other days with FREE entrance to all US national parks!

“For the first time in human history, land—great sections of our national landscape—was set aside, not for kings or noblemen or the very rich, but for everyone, for all time.”

From the National Parks: America’s Best Idea by Dayton Duncan, Ken Burns

The last time I was near a national park was during our winter road trip to Southern California, Arizona, and Nevada. We were thisclose to the Grand Canyon, but icy roads, unexpected snow, AND the US government shut-down prevented us from getting to it safely.

One of these days! But we did visit Nevada’s Valley of Fire State Park and I got my photography fix.

Slot Canyon Hike
Almost Antelope Canyon

Here are a few photos of the National Parks I have visited. After 25 separate visits in my lifetime to Yosemite National Park, I may have a few pics! Here are some of my favorites.

A view of Mono Lake (National Monument) in the Eastern Sierra Nevada along Hwy 395. You can just make out the road in the bottom right that winds through the town of Lee Vining and connects with Hwy 120, the gateway to Yosemite through the Tioga Pass entrance.

View of Mono Lake

As much as I thrill to the iconic image of Yosemite’s Half Dome located in the Valley…

Half Dome View from Glacier Point
Half Dome View from Glacier Point

…my heart belongs to Tuolumne Meadows in the high country a few miles in from the Tioga Pass entrance. At almost 10,000 feet in elevation, the air is crisp, the water insanely blue, and the tourists are few!

Dana Fork of the Tuolumne River runs near the campground (Yosemite National Park)

For more on National Parks, consider visiting my previous post NPS Celebrates 100 Years.

Moving away from the North American continent, Hawaii boasts several national parks and recreation areas.

In January 2018, before the Kilauea crater and nearby vents erupted again, we spent a day walking around Hawaii Volcanoes National Park near Hilo on the Big Island.

Kilauea Crater
Steam rises from the very active Kilauea Crater (Painnt filter applied)

On an earlier trip to Oahu in 2006, I also was fortunate to visit Pearl Harbor National Memorial and see the sunken remains of the USS Arizona. Within this structure is the huge memorial plaque with the names of those who perished.

I have been fortunate to visit a variety of national parks, monuments and recreation areas, mostly in California, all US public lands. I never will forget my parents’ insistence on visiting these locations during my life.

  • Alcatraz Island in San Francisco
  • Cabrillo National Monument (Point Loma, San Diego)
  • Death Valley
  • Devil’s Postpile Nat’l Monument in Mammoth Lakes
  • Fort Point Presidio and Presidio of San Francisco, Golden Gate park
  • Lassen Volcanic
  • Mojave Nat’l Preserve
  • Muir Woods Nat’l Monument North San Francisco Bay
  • Pony Express Trail (came through Old Sacramento),
  • Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Park
  • Yosemite National Park

Even if you miss the free admission day, paying the entrance fee for a day or a week is worth more to you in the long term than paying your HMO’s co-pay when you must visit the doctor for effects of lack of exercise!

Have you heard of ParkRx? Doctors in South Dakota get these prescriptions through a new program run by the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks and the state‘s Department of Health. For me, I would love to get a prescription to visit a park rather than drugs to lower my cholesterol!

“Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity.”

John Muir, Our National Parks

Whether you live in the US or another country, why is it so important to visit our national lands? Because someone with vision understood the vital importance of setting aside public lands for all of us to enjoy and for future generations.

Next time you visit a National Park, a public playground or any other public leisure space, say a quick thank you to those visionaries: Teddy Roosevelt, John Muir, Jane Addams, Steven T Mather, among many.

I dearly love this image of my brother-in-law’s posture as he takes in his first view of Tuolumne Meadows.

Yosemite is the People's Park

This post is partially inspired by Snow’s Friendly Friday Photo Challenge: Tourism.

I am taking a short break to get caught up with school prep and other exciting things, so there is NO photo challenge for September 1, Labor Day weekend. Thank you to all who participate each week!

Sunday Stills resumes September 8. September themes are up on my Sunday Stills Photography page

Which national parks, monuments or public lands have you visited so far?

The Legend of the Face of Half Dome

half-dome the legend of tis-sa-ack

Yosemite’s history includes Native American legends and lore to explain how the monolithic granite structures came to be.

Many generations ago, long before the Great Spirits completed their work on the cliffs and domes in the Valley of Ahwahnee, Tis-sa-ack and her husband, Nangas, traveled to the fertile valley to make it their home.

As was the tradition in those days long ago, the woman carried a beautiful, but heavy cone-shaped basket that was woven from reeds and course grasses. Tis-sa-ack labored under the weight of her heavy burden and papoose carrier, while Nangas carried his bow, arrows and staff.

The sun shone high and hot and the couple had grown very thirsty as they finally arrived at the Valley they knew as Ahwahnee. Nangas, tired and hot from the long journey suddenly lost his temper and struck Tis-sa-ack with his staff. She ran away to escape his wrath.

The Great Spirits caused the path she took to become a stream and the acorns she dropped became oak trees. Tis-sa-ack came upon the beautiful Mirror Lake. So great was her thirst that she drank every drop of the water. When Nangas arrived the lake was dry!

So enraged was he that there was no water for him, he again struck her with his staff. As Tis-sa-ack fled again, tears streaking her face, she turned and threw her heavy basket at her husband.

As the Great Spirits watched this scene, they were displeased. “Tis-sa-ack and Nangas have broken the spell of peace,” they said. “Let us transform them into cliffs of granite that face each other, so that they will be forever parted.”

Tis-sa-ack is known forever to us as Half Dome and Nangas as Washington Column. Her basket became Basket Dome, her papoose carrier became the Royal Arches.

Can you see the tears that still stain Tis-sa-ack’s face? You can make out her light gray silhouette as she faces to the left.

Photo and story submitted for the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: Face

Story borrowed in part from Yosemite and Undiscovered Yosemite.

Half-Dome in the Half-Light

Half-Dome in the Half-Light: Come forth into the light of things...

Another entry for the Weekly Photo Challenge: Half-Light.

Half-Dome in the Half-Light: Come forth into the light of things...

While recently in Yosemite National Park, I captured several photos of Half-Dome. The image of Half-Dome is the well-known icon of Yosemite. I usually visit in the summertime, so it was nice to get my own photos with snow on the peaks.

“Come forth into the light of things, let nature be your teacher.” -Williams Wordsworth

I thought this quote went perfectly with the challenge.

Have you visited Yosemite? It is a “bucket-list” location.


Face and Backside of Half-Dome

Half and Half

If you have ever been to Yosemite National Park in California, you will see the massive granite dome standing majestically at the eastern end of Yosemite Valley. This iconic glacier-carved monolith is the most iconic and recognizable symbol of Yosemite.

For the Weekly Photo Challenge, this week’s theme is half-and-half. Here are my two entries of Half Dome from two perspectives.

This shot is the “face” of Half-Dome, representing the face of Yosemite itself as seen from Glacier Point looking eastward. If you look closely, you can make out the shape of a silhouette of a fabled Miwok woman forever etched on Half-Dome’s sheer front.


This next photo is of Half-Dome taken from Olmstead Point outside of Tuolumne Meadows. This view looks westward offering a unique look at the “backside” of the monolith not always seen or publicized.


I was lucky that my parents loved to camp and made the two-week trip to Yosemite every year, when we were kids, then teens. As an adult, I try to make the trip every couple of years. I never get tired of visiting and standing beneath the massive peaks looking up in awe at their majesty.

I can truthfully say that I have spent half of my summers in Yosemite National Park. Have you ever been to Yosemite? Add it to your bucket list!