“The whole tree when in flower looks as if covered with snow. In the spring when the streams are in flood it is the whitest of trees. In Indian summer the leaves become bright crimson, making a still grander show than the flowers.” – John Muir
Recent reports from Yosemite are informing me, in my absence, that the Sierra Dogwoods have begun to bloom. A clear indication that spring is here and I long to be there once more.
I’ve seen many images of these beautiful, delicate, spring blossoms, in photography books, websites, and my Facebook feed. For many years I determined to time a visit to Yosemite in the April-May timeframe to see them for myself. Driving into the park from Oakhurst, I spotted the first few dogwood trees among the pines, bright white flowers, against the dark forest. It was raining and dull, yet they shone in the mist. Of course, having never seen them close up myself, I pulled over and made a photo at the first convenient pull-out.
What I did not realize at the time was that many better opportunities would present themselves; nicer, bigger blossoms, better light, more interesting backgrounds. Nothing had prepared me for how glorious the peak bloom is in the park. Blossoms were everywhere and I must have taken hundreds of photos, in every conceivable composition, trying to get something unique, that captured my vision. The image above was made while hiking the Mirror Lake Loop, which presented many wonderful specimens for my enjoyment. The gentle, off and on, rain enhanced the photo by bringing out the shine of the leaves and softening the light.
It’s feeling like a Yosemite week, more to follow.
Tamron 70-200 mm f/2.8 @ 135 mm
1/80 sec, f/4.5, ISO 200