GlacierPoint_WashburnPoint

Glacier Point and Washburn Point offer panoramic views of Yosemite Valley and the
High Sierras. They are among the most popular destinations in Yosemite National Park
in the spring and summer, as they are accessible by car from the Glacier Point Road.
Washburn Point overlooks Half Dome in profile and has the best view of Nevada Fall,
Vernal Fall and the Little Yosemite Valley. The Glacier Point view of Yosemite Valley,
Half Dome and Tenaya Canyon from 3200 feet over the valley floor is breathtaking.

Click an image to open a larger version.
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Yosemite Section Index
 

Yosemite Select

Yosemite Valley
Valley Views
Yosemite Assorted
Mirror Lake
Rivers and Creeks

Waterfalls
Yosemite Falls

Yosemite Rim
Glacier Point and Washburn Point
Taft Point

Yosemite Wildlife
Deer and Birds
Squirrel and Marmot

Yosemite Plant Life
Mariposa Grove
Sequoia National Park
Assorted Plant Life

Bodie Ghost Town
Mono Lake
Mariposa

A 75 image Overview of the Yosemite Portfolio

An Overview page with sample images from the following pages:
Discovery View (Wawona Tunnel View) and Valley View
El Capitan, Half Dome, Cathedral Rocks, and other Scenery
The exquisitely beautiful Mirror Lake in Tenaya Canyon
The Merced River, Tenaya Creek, Yosemite Creek and more

Bridalveil, Vernal and Nevada Falls, and selected images of Yosemite Falls
Detail shots, vignettes and scenic images of Yosemite’s signature waterfall

An Overview page with sample images from the following pages:
Yosemite National Park’s two most famous rim views
Taft Point Fissures and spectacular views from 3000’ over Yosemite Valley

An Overview page with sample images from the following pages:
Mule Deer in the Valley meadows, Hummingbirds, Steller’s Jays, etc.
Golden-Mantled Squirrels, Ground Squirrels and a Tioga Pass Marmot

An Overview page with sample images from the following pages:
Images from the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias
Images from nearby Sequoia and King’s Canyon National Parks
Lupines, Dogwood, Snow Plants, Thistle, Forest Moss and Lichen

50 images of the gold mining boom town north of Mono Lake
A highly saline lake in the Eastern Sierras with otherworldly scenery
A Cigar Store Indian, a Thunderbird Totem, and antique Farm Machinery

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Images in this section are in a number of different Galleries on the Photoshelter website.
The Banner below leads to the Yosemite Collection page where a Gallery can be selected.

PhotoshelterGallerySection


There are 15 Galleries in the Photoshelter Yosemite Collection

For convenience, Galleries containing the images of Wildlife, Plants,
Sequoia National Park, Bodie Ghost Town, Mono Lake and Mariposa
have been copied to the Yosemite Collection from their normal locations.

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Summit_Meadow_2635


Summit Meadow 2635
(762 KB)

Summit Meadow on the Glacier Point Road, just after the road was opened in May.

The original road to Glacier Point (the Chinquapin Road) was a toll road built in 1882.
The present road was completed in 1936 and follows much of the original road bed.
The road opens in late May (depending on snow) and stays open until November.

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Half Dome Tenaya Canyon Glacier Point X6308

(653 KB)

From left: North Dome, Basket Dome, Tenaya Canyon and Half Dome from Glacier Point.

Glacier Point is the terminus of the Glacier Point Road, and overlooks Tenaya Canyon to the
northeast and Yosemite Valley to the northwest from 3200 feet over the valley. This panorama
is the most famous in Yosemite Valley, and it is one of the goals of every visitor from the spring
through late autumn to ascend to Glacier Point to see this view. More views from Glacier Point
are shown further down the page. Directly below are views from Washburn Point a mile south.

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Half Dome Tenaya Canyon Washburn Point X6295
(508 KB)

The view from Washburn Point in Autumn (X6000-series shots were taken in mid-October).

From left: North Dome, Basket Dome, Tenaya Canyon and Half Dome from Washburn Point.

Washburn Point offers the first views of Half Dome and Tenaya Canyon on the Glacier Point Road.
It also offers better views of Nevada Fall, Vernal Fall and the Little Yosemite Valley than can be seen
from Glacier Point, although Yosemite Valley itself is obscured. Half Dome is in profile when viewed
from Washburn Point. You can see the flat face caused by slabs of rock sheared off by exfoliation.

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Half Dome Exfoliation Joints 6314c
(detail crop  —  no linked image)

This is a resized detail crop of an image taken from Glacier Point so you can see the face
of Half Dome with its layers of exfoliation joints (the uncropped image is shown further below).

When fractures in the rock occur parallel to the surface, they are called exfoliation joints or sheet joints.
The process which creates these fractures is not yet agreed upon by experts, but the most likely theory
is that compressive stress can create tensile mode fractures in rock parallel to the stress. When water
flows through these cracks, it can loosen the bond holding the rock (the process of weathering). If the
water in the joint freezes, it expands and loosens the rock further (frost wedging). The combination
of weathering and frost wedging on the exfoliation joints causes enormous slabs of rock to shear
off from the face. Numerous rockfalls like this occur each year (over 900 in the last 150 years).

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Half Dome Tenaya Canyon Washburn Point 2641
(588 KB)

The profile of Half Dome rising above Ahwiyah Point and Tenaya Canyon from Washburn Point in spring.

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Half Dome Washburn Point X6296
(623 KB)

Detail of Half Dome, showing the flat face which was sheared by exfoliation of sheet joints (fractures parallel to the surface).

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Washburn Point View 3803
(514 KB)

The view from Washburn Point in spring. At left is Tenaya Canyon and Half Dome,
in the center is Vernal Fall, Liberty Cap and Nevada Fall. At right above Nevada Fall
and behind Liberty Cap is Little Yosemite Valley, the Cascade Cliffs and Bunnell Point.

In the 1870s and 1880s, the Washburn Brothers drove visitors from the Wawona Hotel
to Glacier Point and Washburn Point. Washburn Point offers a spectacular view of upper
Yosemite National Park and the High Sierras (Yosemite Valley is visible from Glacier Point).

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Nevada Fall Vernal Fall Liberty Cap 3799
(507 KB)

Detail of Vernal Fall (bottom left), Nevada Fall and Liberty Cap (center left). At the top of the frame is Little Yosemite Valley with the Cascade Cliffs and Bunnell Point, and in the distance is the Clark Range of the High Sierras.

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Nevada Fall Vernal Fall Glacier Point 3819
(621 KB)

A similar scene showing Vernal Fall, Nevada Fall and Liberty Cap framed by conifers on the far right side of Glacier Point. At the top of the frame are the Cascade Cliffs of the Little Yosemite Valley and the Clark Range of the High Sierras.

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Nevada Fall Vernal Fall Washburn Point 3816
(556 KB)

Detail of Nevada Fall (right) and Vernal Fall (lower left) from Washburn Point.

Nevada Fall (Yowiye, or Twisting Water) is a 594 foot waterfall at the western
end of Little Yosemite Valley, below Liberty Cap. The fall has a notably bent shape
caused by a 200 foot free-fall to the slickrock slope where it continues to the base.

Vernal Fall (Paiute names: Yanopah, or Little Cloud and Pywiack, or Shining Rocks) is
a 317 foot waterfall downstream of Nevada Fall on the Merced River. Both are accessible
from the Mist Trail which begins at the Happy Isles trailhead above Curry Village. There are
images of Vernal Fall from the Mist Trail on the Waterfalls page. If you are going to take a
camera up to Vernal Fall via the Mist Trail, bring waterproof gear as it will get soaked.

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Vernal Fall Washburn Point 3811
(570 KB)

A detail shot of Vernal Fall from Washburn Point (note the mist below the fall). Those tiny specks to the right are people.

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Nevada Fall Washburn Point 3808
(569 KB)

A detail shot of Nevada Fall from Washburn Point. These were taken in the spring, when the water volume was high.

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Images in this section are in a number of different Galleries on the Photoshelter website.
The Banner below leads to the Yosemite Collection page where a Gallery can be selected.

PhotoshelterGallerySection


There are 15 Galleries in the Photoshelter Yosemite Collection

For convenience, Galleries containing the images of Wildlife, Plants,
Sequoia National Park, Bodie Ghost Town, Mono Lake and Mariposa
have been copied to the Yosemite Collection from their normal locations.

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Half_Dome_Tenaya_Canyon_Glacier_Point_X6305


Half Dome Tenaya Canyon Glacier Point X6305
(637 KB)

From left: North Dome, Basket Dome, Tenaya Canyon and Half Dome from Glacier Point.

This is the view from the beginning of the short trail leading to Glacier Point.
On the right, Half Dome rises above Ahwiyah Point, overlooking Tenaya Canyon
below and North Dome and Basket Dome on the opposite side of Tenaya Canyon.
Between Half Dome and the Domes is Mirror Lake. This image was taken in October.

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Half Dome Liberty Cap Glacier Point X6298
(602 KB)

Half Dome and Liberty Cap, with a trickle of water flowing over Nevada Fall in late autumn, from the beginning of the trail leading to Glacier Point at mid-afternoon in October.

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Half Dome Tenaya Canyon Glacier Point 2646
(600 KB)

Detail of Half Dome and Tenaya Canyon from a little further along the short trail to Glacier Point, taken in mid-afternoon in the spring, during a photographic training session in May.

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Nevada Fall Clark Range Glacier Point 3846
(677 KB)

Nevada Fall and the Clark Range from Glacier Point in spring. The prominent peaks
at the top of the frame from center to right are Mount Clark, Gray Peak and Mount Starr King.
Mount Clark was named for Galen Clark, the first Guardian of the Yosemite Grant and one of
the Pioneers of Yosemite Valley, who first explored the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias,
 established Clark’s Station and Wawona (which he sold to the Washburn Brothers), and
was instrumental in generating interest in the area which led to its protection under
the 1864 Yosemite Grant and later the creation of Yosemite National Park.

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Liberty Cap Nevada Fall Autumn X6325
(822 KB)

A detail shot of Liberty Cap and Nevada Fall taken in late autumn. The flow of water over
the fall in October has dried to a mere trickle (compare to the images in spring shown below).

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Nevada Fall Vernal Fall Glacier Point 2656
(591 KB)

Nevada Fall and Vernal Fall in spring from Glacier Point.

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Nevada Fall Vernal Fall Glacier Point 2666
(552 KB)

The volume of water from the snowmelt is substantial.

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Vernal Fall Glacier Point 2670
(524 KB)

Detail of Vernal Fall from Glacier Point in spring. Note the tiny specks to the right of the fall (the people will provide scale).

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Yosemite Falls Glacier Point 2664
(554 KB)

A detail shot of Yosemite Falls in spring from Glacier Point. Yosemite Falls is one of the tallest in the world at 2425 feet.

Other than the Yosemite Falls Trail, Glacier Point is one of the few places from which you can
view the Middle Cascades of Yosemite Falls, a group of smaller falls and a cascade between the
Upper Fall and the Lower Fall. These smaller falls total 675 feet of drop, twice that of the Lower Fall.

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Half Dome Glacier Point Sunset 3118
(529 KB)

Half Dome, Ahwiya Point and Cloud’s Rest overlooking Tenaya Canyon at sunset in May.

Ron_GlacierPoint_6360


Ron at Glacier Point 6360

Taken by Scott Peck, one of my students, during a photographic training session in May.

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Images in this section are in a number of different Galleries on the Photoshelter website.
The Banner below leads to the Yosemite Collection page where a Gallery can be selected.

PhotoshelterGallerySection


There are 15 Galleries in the Photoshelter Yosemite Collection

For convenience, Galleries containing the images of Wildlife, Plants,
Sequoia National Park, Bodie Ghost Town, Mono Lake and Mariposa
have been copied to the Yosemite Collection from their normal locations.

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Half_Dome_Clouds_Rest_Glacier_Point_2679


Half Dome Cloud’s Rest Glacier Point 2679
(577 KB)

Half Dome and Cloud’s Rest at mid-afternoon in spring.

Half_Dome_Clouds_Rest_Glacier_Point_3839


Half Dome Cloud’s Rest Glacier Point 3839
(638 KB)

Half Dome and Cloud’s Rest in the late afternoon in spring.

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Half Dome Cloud’s Rest Glacier Point X6314
(582 KB)

Half Dome and Cloud’s Rest at mid-afternoon in autumn.

Cloud’s Rest is a 9930 foot arete (a knife-like ridge of rock) that separated
the two glaciers which carved out Tenaya Canyon and Little Yosemite Valley.
It was named Cloud’s Rest by the Mariposa Battalion in 1851, which avoided a
snowstorm in Little Yosemite Valley after seeing clouds rapidly settling on its ridge.
Cloud’s Rest and Half Dome from Tioga Pass are on the Yosemite Assorted page.

Half Dome (Tis-sa’ack, Cleft Rock), is the name of a woman that Mono Paiute legend states
was turned into stone for bringing anger into the Valley, and also the name of the fair-skinned
 woman in the legend of Tis-sa’ack and Totock’anula (El Capitan). It is the most familiar rock
feature in Yosemite National Park. It rises over 4,700 feet above the valley floor, and was
formed by exfoliation (as described earlier on this page). It overlooks Tenaya Canyon.

Declared unclimbable prior to the 1870s, Half Dome was first climbed in 1875 by
George Anderson, a local guide who climbed the face with pitch-covered sacks
on his feet, drilling holes in the rock in which he inserted iron eye-bolts. He put
rope through the eye-bolts and stood on them, climbing the 975 foot face.
Cables installed in 1919 followed Anderson’s route on the East face.

Half Dome from the Valley floor is on the Yosemite Assorted page.

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Half Dome Cloud’s Rest Glacier Point 3823
(523 KB)

Half Dome and Cloud’s Rest in the late afternoon in spring.

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Half Dome Glacier Point Sunset 3112
(467 KB)

Half Dome from Glacier Point at sunset in spring.

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Half Dome Glacier Point Sunset 3128
(509 KB)

Half Dome, Ahwiyah Point, Cloud’s Rest and Tenaya Canyon
in spring, as seen from Glacier Point in the waning light at sunset.

Ahwiyah Point is the small sunlit pinnacle at left center below Half Dome.

An enormous rockfall from Ahwiyah Point in March 2009 dropped 115,000 tons of material
into Tenaya Canyon below, knocking down hundreds of trees and burying hundreds of feet
of trail on the southern part of the loop trail. No one was hurt in what was the largest rockfall
event in Yosemite NP since the 1987 Middle Brother Rockfall. The loop trail was reopened in
October 2012 (trees and rocks removed, retaining walls were built and the trail was realigned).

Several images of Ahwiyah Point from ground level are on the Mirror Lake page.

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Half Dome Tenaya Canyon Glacier Point 3827
(539 KB)

Half Dome, Ahwiyah Point, Cloud’s Rest and Tenaya Canyon from Glacier Point in the late afternoon in May.

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Half Dome Tenaya Canyon Glacier Point 3836
(665 KB)

Royal Arches, Indian Ridge, North Dome and Basket Dome, Tenaya Canyon and Half Dome in the late afternoon in May.

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Half Dome Tenaya Canyon Glacier Point X6310
(625 KB)

Royal Arches, Indian Ridge, North Dome and Basket Dome, Tenaya Canyon and Half Dome
(from left) at mid-afternoon in October. In autumn, Mirror Lake (directly below Half Dome) is dry.
Scenes from Mirror Lake during the Spring Flood and in Autumn are on the Mirror Lake page.
Royal Arches and North Dome from the Valley floor are on the Yosemite Assorted page.

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Half Dome Tenaya Canyon Glacier Point 3510
(575 KB)

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Half Dome Tenaya Canyon Glacier Point 3496
(547 KB)

Half Dome and Tenaya Canyon from Glacier Point on a stormy spring day in May.

Half_Dome_Glacier_Point_X6317


Half Dome Glacier Point X6317
(635 KB)

Half Dome from Glacier Point in October, using the weathered log as a compositional tool.

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Images in this section are in a number of different Galleries on the Photoshelter website.
The Banner below leads to the Yosemite Collection page where a Gallery can be selected.

PhotoshelterGallerySection


There are 15 Galleries in the Photoshelter Yosemite Collection

For convenience, Galleries containing the images of Wildlife, Plants,
Sequoia National Park, Bodie Ghost Town, Mono Lake and Mariposa
have been copied to the Yosemite Collection from their normal locations.

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Glacier_Point_Autumn_Sunrise_X6526-27L


Glacier Point Autumn Sunrise X6526-27 L
(2000 x 925, 551 KB)

A two-shot panorama of Royal Arches, North Dome and Basket Dome,
Tenaya Canyon and Half Dome as the sun rises over Mount Clark in October.
The linked image is a 2000 x 925 watermarked version of the XXL Composite
(6661 x 2875). The separate images are also available (displayed further below).

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Overhanging Rock First Light Glacier Point X6501
(376 KB)

Overhanging_Rock_Sunrise_Glacier_Point_X6542


Overhanging Rock Sunrise Glacier Point X6542
(491 KB)

The Moon hanging over Overhanging Rock at first light and at sunrise in October.

Overhanging_Rock_Sunrise_Glacier_Point_X6604


Overhanging Rock Sunrise Glacier Point X6604
(561 KB)

Overhanging Rock at Sunrise from Glacier Point.

Overhanging Rock was a popular location in the early years at Yosemite. Perched 3200 feet over the valley floor, it has been a focal point of trips to Glacier Point ever since the first trails were built to Glacier Point in 1857. The nearby cliff was the site of the original Fire Fall started by James McCauley, who in 1871 had Four Mile Trail built from McCauley’s home in the Valley to Glacier Point, where he built the Glacier Point Mountain House in 1872. He started the tradition of pushing coals over the cliff to a ledge far below, which lasted until 1897 when the Washburn Brothers bought him out. They did not continue the tradition.

When David Curry established Camp Curry in 1899, he heard about the Fire Fall and beginning in 1900 he re-established the tradition. The Fire Fall was a major nightly attraction in the summer months until 1968, when the National Park Service ended it.

Overhanging Rock itself was used as a site for photographs of the “I was there” variety from the early days. The first automobile to enter Yosemite Valley was a 1900 Locomobile steam car driven by Oliver Lippincott. It was driven up the steep, winding road to Glacier Point, and the next morning it was hauled out onto Overhanging Rock by ropes for a famous photograph. This photograph was duplicated by many people after that, and many early automobile manufacturers had advertising photos done there with their cars. Some of the earliest images were done by Yosemite’s first resident photographer, George Fiske, in the 1880s and 1890s. After Fiske died in 1918, the young Ansel Adams made prints from his negatives. During the early years (and later), many people used Overhanging Rock as a location for group shots (sometimes with horses or cars), but there were also many people who performed numerous antics on the rock, perched 3200 feet over the valley. High kicks and handstands were made into early postcards, and there is even one with a worried-looking riderless horse peeking over the edge.

Below are two vintage photographs from the early days.

DancingLadies_OverhangingRock_c
DancingLadies_OverhangingRock_s

Dancing Ladies on Overhanging Rock

Kitty Tatch and Katherine Hazelston were waitresses in Yosemite’s Sentinel Hotel in the 1890s.
They danced atop Overhanging Rock at Glacier Point for George Fiske’s famous photograph.
At left is a detail crop. Click the right image for a 1088 x 1920 version of George Fiske’s photo.

Locomobile_GlacierPoint


Locomobile steam car on Overhanging Rock in 1900 (no linked image).

Half_Dome_Tenaya_Canyon_Sunrise_X6526


Half Dome Tenaya Canyon Sunrise X6526
(443 KB)

Half Dome and Tenaya Canyon at sunrise from Glacier Point.

Glacier_Point_Sunrise_X6527


Glacier Point Sunrise X6527
(473 KB)

Half Dome and the sunrise over Mount Clark in autumn.

The two images above, taken at sunrise in October, were combined
to create the panoramic image shown at the beginning of this section.

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Glacier Point Artist at Sunrise X6573
(358 KB)

An artist paints Half Dome and the Glacier Point view at sunrise in autumn.

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Glacier Point Northwest View Sunrise X6602
(640 KB)

The northwest view from Glacier Point at sunrise in October. Overhanging Rock is in the upper left, in the center is Eagle Tower and Eagle Peak, and the cleft in the rim wall at right is the dry watercourse of Yosemite Falls.

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Glacier Point North View Sunrise X6601
(690 KB)

The North View at sunrise from Glacier Point in October. In the upper left is the dry cleft of Yosemite Falls watercourse, to the right of the cleft is Indian Canyon. At right are Royal Arches, North Dome, Basket Dome and Indian Ridge.

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Glacier Point Northwest View FE X6600
(598 KB)

An extreme wide angle taken from Glacier Point at sunrise in autumn using a fisheye lens.
A fisheye is a lens with a 180 degree field of view which offers a unique perspective for some
sorts of images. Shots from the top of the world are one of those situations where the unusual
perspective offered by the fisheye can be very interesting. In the Yosemite Portfolio, there are
fisheye images taken in the forest at Sequoia National Park and at Taft Point, and shots of
the Fissures at Taft Point along with some views like these taken from the Taft Point rim.

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Images in this section are in a number of different Galleries on the Photoshelter website.
The Banner below leads to the Yosemite Collection page where a Gallery can be selected.

PhotoshelterGallerySection


There are 15 Galleries in the Photoshelter Yosemite Collection

For convenience, Galleries containing the images of Wildlife, Plants,
Sequoia National Park, Bodie Ghost Town, Mono Lake and Mariposa
have been copied to the Yosemite Collection from their normal locations.

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Taft_Point


Click the Display Composite above to visit the Taft Point page

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Click the Display Composite above to visit the Yosemite Select page

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