Taft_Point

Taft Point is opposite the Three Brothers on the South Rim of Yosemite Valley,
at the end of a one mile trail through Red Fir forest from the Glacier Point Road.
Taft Point offers spectacular views from over 3000 feet above Yosemite Valley,
but it is best known for the Taft Point Fissures, enormous clefts in the rock with
an unprotected vertical drop of more than 1000 feet on the edge of Profile Cliff.

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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.

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There are 15 Galleries in the Photoshelter Yosemite Collection

For convenience, Galleries containing the images of Wildlife, Plants,
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have been copied to the Yosemite Collection from their normal locations.

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Taft_Point_Trailhead_X6628


Taft Point Trailhead X6628
(787 KB)

The trailhead to Taft Point and Sentinel Dome is off the Glacier Point Road,
13.6 miles from Chinquapin, 1.5 miles from Washburn Point. It passes through
Red Fir and Lodgepole Pine forest over an easy trail that is about a mile long.

Taft_Point_Trail_Autumn_X6633


Taft Point Trail Autumn X6633
(809 KB)

The entrance to the forest on the Taft Point Trail in October.

Taft Point was named for President William Howard Taft, who
visited Yosemite in 1909 and toured the park with John Muir.
It was named by R.B. Marshall of the US Geological Survey.

Taft_Point_Trail_Spring_3083


Taft Point Trail Spring 3083
(583 KB)

The Taft Point Trail in mid-May, just beyond Sentinel Creek, with snow drifts still blanketing the forest.

Surrealistic_Forest_Taft_Point_Trail_FE_X6811


Surrealistic Forest Taft Point Trail FE X6811
(801 KB)

A Dali-esque fisheye image of the Taft Point Trail. The fisheye lens’s 180 degree field of view offers a unique perspective.

Golden_Mantle_Nesting_Taft_Point_Trail_X6683c


Golden Mantle Nesting Taft Point Trail X6683c
(548 KB)

A Golden-Mantled Ground Squirrel gathering nesting material to insulate his burrow in late autumn on the Taft Point Trail. This was one of the funniest squirrel sequences I have taken.

Golden_Mantle_Nesting_Taft_Point_Trail_X6686c


Golden Mantle Nesting Taft Point Trail X6686c
(480 KB)

He would grab a clump of grass, then rapidly stuff it in his mouth, packing and compressing it so he could carry more. You would think this mouthful would be adequate, but ...

Golden_Mantle_Nesting_Taft_Point_Trail_X6689c


Golden Mantle Nesting Taft Point Trail X6689c
(539 KB)

... the little guy decided that there wasn't enough and reached for more.

This all happened very quickly (the whole sequence took less than a minute), and
I was hard-pressed to get the shots as I was quaking with laughter the entire time.
More shots of our hero are displayed on the Wildlife: Squirrels and Marmot page.

Wolf_Lichen_on_Stump_Taft_Point_Trail_X6661


Wolf Lichen on Stump Taft Point Trail X6661
(681 KB)

Wolf Lichen on a shattered Red Fir stump in the forest leading to Taft Point. More images of Wolf Lichen are below.

Red_Fir_Sapling_and_Stump_Taft_Point_Trail_X6665


Red Fir Sapling and Stump Taft Point Trail X6665
(608 KB)

A young Red Fir sapling growing beside another shattered Red Fir stump on the Taft Point Trail.

Forest_Scene_Taft_Point_Trail_X6635


Forest Scene Taft Point Trail X6635
(1170 KB)

Shattered Red Fir and Pine stumps amongst the forest litter on the Taft Point Trail.

Forest_Scene_Taft_Point_Trail_X6644


Forest Scene Taft Point Trail X6644
(538 KB)

A Red Fir stump and forest litter on the Taft Point Trail.

Forest_Scene_Taft_Point_Trail_X6789


Forest Scene Taft Point Trail X6789
(606 KB)

A forest scene with a Red Fir stump on the Taft Point Trail.

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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.

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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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Wolf_Lichen_Taft_Point_Trail_3031


Wolf Lichen Taft Point Trail 3031
(649 KB)

Wolf_Lichen_Taft_Point_Trail_X6794


Wolf Lichen Taft Point Trail X6794
(882 KB)

Wolf Lichen coats many tree branches on the Taft Point Trail.

Wolf Lichen (Letharia vulpina) is a yellow-green branching fungus that grows on
the bark of conifers (living and dead), and is toxic to mammals. It was historically
used as a poison for wolves and foxes (thus the name), and was used to make a
pigment for dyes and paints by the Native Americans in areas in which it grows.
It was also used in a healing poultice, and boiled for a drink to stop bleeding.

Wolf_Lichen_Taft_Point_Trail_X6666


Wolf Lichen Taft Point Trail X6666
(463 KB)

Wolf_Lichen_Taft_Point_Trail_X6809


Wolf Lichen Taft Point Trail X6809
(512 KB)

Close detail of Wolf Lichen covering tree branches on the Taft Point Trail.

Wolf Lichen is highly resistant to freezing and low temperatures, and remains active in
winter. It resumes photosynthesis just a few minutes after it thaws, and it generally grows
at heights on a tree above the maximum snow line, so you can easily judge how deep the
snow can get in an area by the lowest height at which Wolf Lichen grows on the trees.

Wolf_Lichen_Taft_Point_Trail_X6774


Wolf Lichen Taft Point Trail X6774
(672 KB)

Wolf_Lichen_Taft_Point_Trail_X6798


Wolf Lichen Taft Point Trail X6798
(363 KB)

Close detail of Wolf Lichen covering tree branches on the Taft Point Trail.

Wolf Lichen is a symbiotic combination of fungus and algae. Some scientists say that
“Lichens are fungi that have discovered agriculture”. They cultivate the algae to make food.
Wolf Lichen prefers areas which do not have canopy shade, and is most active in winter.

Forest_Scene_Taft_Point_Trail_X6778


Forest Scene Taft Point Trail X6778
(1297 KB)

This forest scene just above Taft Point includes a fallen Red Fir covered with Wolf Lichen.

Taft_Point_Fissure_FE_X6706


Taft Point Fissure FE X6706
(976 KB)

An extreme wide angle of one of the Fissures at Taft Point taken with a fisheye lens.

A fisheye lens has a 180 degree angle of view (care is required to keep your feet out of the frame)
and offers an exceptional perspective in the forest or for images taken from a high vantage point .
If you set up the camera with the back exactly perpendicular to your subject and with the subject
in the center of the frame, the image only bends at the edges and it looks as you see above.
If you angle the camera back, subject matter at the edge of the frame is distorted in an arc.

Taft_Point_Fissure_3037


Taft Point Fissure 3037
(586 KB)

Taft_Point_Fissure_3039


Taft Point Fissure 3039
(581 KB)

The first two of the deep fissures east of Taft Point. The drop at the end of the slide at right is over 1000 feet.

The accepted theory on these fissures is that they were caused by an epic battle between Mothra and Godzilla
during a hiatus between movie deals in the 1960s. Reluctant to generate bad publicity caused by news coverage
of their destruction of America’s best-loved National Park, they time-travelled into the distant past where the gaping
gashes caused by their massive claws would not be filmed by Walter Cronkite for the evening news. Do not believe
the geologists who state that these fissures are part of a larger series of joints in this section of the park which may
have been created by a geologic fault running through the region. It was Godzilla and Mothra. There is no doubt.

Taft_Point_Fissure_3409


Taft Point Fissure 3409
(606 KB)

Rocks trapped in the narrow crevice of a Taft Point Fissure. Photography students in the background provide scale.

Taft_Point_Fissure_3045


Taft Point Fissure 3045
(653 KB)

Detail of the rocks wedged between the walls of the fissure. This shot was taken on a bleak Spring day in May.

Profile_Cliff_Taft_Point_3040


Profile Cliff Taft Point 3040
(617 KB)

With a little imagination, you can see the face etched into Profile Cliff.

As you can see, there are no railings protecting the edges of the Fissures or cliffs
(except for the railing at the promontory over Yosemite Valley). Taft Point is dangerous,
and if you have a fear of heights you would be well advised to stay away from the edges.
The drop is more than 1000 feet in some places, and over 3000 feet to the valley floor in
others. Your friends would lose sight of you long before you were squished like a bug
at the bottom, then they would have to walk all the way back to the valley because
you had the only set of car keys. Be careful around the edges at Taft Point.

Ron_Taft_Point_X0473


Ron at Taft Point X0473

Photo by Geno Parciascepe

Sitting at the edge of one of the Taft Point overlooks, 3000 feet over the valley floor (El Capitan is at right).

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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_Fissure_X6697


Taft Point Fissure X6697
(668 KB)

Taft_Point_Fissure_X6699


Taft Point Fissure X6699
(613 KB)

The first two Fissures east of Taft Point, taken at noon in October.

Taft_Point_Fissure_X6701


Taft Point Fissure X6701
(571 KB)

The gaping maw of one of the more highly layered Fissures at Taft Point.

Taft_Point_Fissure_FE_X6705


Taft Point Fissure FE X6705
(813 KB)

“Fisheye Fissure”

An extreme wide-angle oblique of the Fissure shown in the previous image,
taken with a Fisheye lens. The perspective is due to the 180 degree angle of view.
Below are two more fisheye shots of the Fissure with the wedged rocks, shown earlier.

Taft_Point_Fissure_FE_X6708


Taft Point Fissure FE X6708
(556 KB)

Taft_Point_Fissure_FE_X6709


Taft Point Fissure FE X6709
(500 KB)

The Fissure with the two wedged rocks, taken with the 180 degree field of view of a fisheye lens.
At left is an oblique, and at right is a shot directly into the Fissure (note the photographers shadow).

Taft_Point_Fissure_X6735


Taft Point Fissure X6735
(515 KB)

Taft_Point_Fissure_X6736


Taft Point Fissure X6736
(501 KB)

Two conventional wide angle shots of the Fissure with the wedged rocks.
The image at left was taken with a 20% setting of a circular polarizing filter,
and the one at right was shot with a 50% setting. A circular polarizer filters out
the polarized components in sunlight. It darkens the sky, increases contrast,
reduces reflections from leaves and water, and increases color saturation.

Taft_Point_Fissure_Polarization_Comparison


Taft Point Fissure Polarization Comparison
(731 KB)

A comparison between three different settings of a circular polarizing filter. At left is 6735 (20%),
in the center is 6736 (a 50% setting), and at right is 6734 (a 75% setting). The higher the setting,
the darker the sky and the higher the saturation of certain colors in the scene. Personally, I prefer
settings of 20-50% as higher settings darken the sky a bit too much for my taste, but some clients
prefer the look at 60% or more. Sometimes I will take a series and make all available as I did here.

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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_USGS_Marker_X6741


Taft Point USGS Marker X6741
(671 KB)

The US Geological Survey Marker at Taft Point, showing the elevation at 7503 feet above sea level (1906).

Squirrel_Rock_Taft_Point_X6729


Squirrel Rock Taft Point X6729
(614 KB)

Squirrel Rock at Taft Point, sporting a strategically located decorative pine cone atop its head.

Golden_Mantle_Taft_Point_3437c


Golden Mantle Taft Point 3437c
(503 KB)

A Golden-Mantled Ground Squirrel at Taft Point in the Spring. This little fellow was standing atop a granite boulder eating a flower when he saw us approaching and instantly threw down the flower to begin his "aren't I cute?" routine to get some nuts.  Anyone with a cat knows how effective this routine can be, and apparently this little guy has had quite a lot of practice.

Golden_Mantle_Taft_Point_3438c


Golden Mantle Taft Point 3438c
(476 KB)

Golden_Mantle_Taft_Point_3441


Golden Mantle Taft Point 3441
(300 KB)

A Golden Mantle munching a nut atop a boulder at Taft Point.

Golden_Mantle_Taft_Point_3459c


Golden Mantle Taft Point 3459c
(483 KB)

Our little friend went right back to his “aren’t I cute?” routine after finishing his nut. This is a detail crop from an image framed like the one which is shown below.

Golden_Mantle_Taft_Point_3461


Golden Mantle Taft Point 3461
(300 KB)

The astonished look is part of this little fellow’s "aren't I cute?" routine.

The Golden Mantle is a type of ground squirrel found in mountainous regions of the West.
Like the chipmunk, it has stripes on its back, but it has no facial stripes and is generally
larger than the chipmunk (a large chipmunk is about the size of a small Golden Mantle).
They have a russet to golden-brown mantle over the head and shoulders, thus the name.

The Golden Mantle emerges from its burrow in April or May at these altitudes
(Taft Point is at 7500 feet, and snow covers the area until April in most years,
sometimes until mid-May). This fellow had probably been out of his burrow
for less than a month when we encountered him in the latter part of May.

More shots are displayed on the Wildlife: Squirrels and Marmot page.

Awestruck_Aussie_Taft_Point_3468


Awestruck Aussie Taft Point 3468
(637 KB)

Mark Bedson, one of my students from Australia, reacting to the spectacular view from
the naked overlook atop the Taft Point rock. Note the overhang above a sheer 3000 foot drop.
Also note the hardy little Juniper growing out of a crack in the rock. Amazing where some things grow.

Taft_Point_Overlook_El_Capitan_X6752


Taft Point Overlook El Capitan X6752
(568 KB)

Taft Point Overlook, with a few hikers sitting on the rock for scale. El Capitan is on the right.
This is the view to the west from Promontory Rock (the only place where there is a railing).

Taft_Point_Northwest_View_FE_X6762


Taft Point Northwest View FE X6762
(745 KB)

The Northwest view from Promontory Rock, taken with the 180 degree field of view of a fisheye lens.

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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_North_View_X6771


Taft Point North View X6771
(753 KB)

The North view from Taft Point Overlook in October. This is a view of the Yosemite Wilderness beyond Eagle Peak.

Taft_Point_North_View_3488


Taft Point North View 3488
(497 KB)

North view from Promontory Rock on a stormy Spring day. On the left is Yosemite Falls, at right is the top of Sentinel Rock.

Yosemite_Falls_Autumn_Taft_Point_X6760


Yosemite Falls Autumn Taft Point X6760
(576 KB)

The dry watercourse of Yosemite Falls in Autumn.

Yosemite_Falls_Taft_Point_3488c


Yosemite Falls Taft Point 3488c
(498 KB)

A detail crop of Yosemite Falls in Spring from Taft Point.

Taft_Point_Northwest_View_X6749


Taft Point Northwest View X6749
(767 KB)

A 22mm conventional wide-angle shot from Taft Point shows El Capitan on the left,
Eagle Peak Canyon in the right center, and the Three Brothers on the right in Autumn.

Taft_Point_Northwest_View_FE_3477


Taft Point Northwest View FE 3477
(669 KB)

The Northwest view from Promontory Rock in Spring, taken with a fisheye lens looking straight down into the valley.

Taft_Point_Northwest_View_FE_X6713


Taft Point Northwest View FE X6713
(627 KB)

Northwest view from Promontory Rock in Autumn. The field of view of the fisheye provides a spectacular perspective.

Taft_Point_Northwest_View_FE_X6723


Taft Point Northwest View FE X6723
(779 KB)

The Northwest view from Taft Point in October, taken with a fisheye from a position
just east of and uphill from Taft Point Overlook so Cathedral Rocks were not obscured.
This view shows the western end and center of Yosemite Valley, with Cathedral Rocks
on the left, the Merced River and El Capitan in the center, and Eagle Peak Canyon,
the Three Brothers, and the dry Autumn watercourse of Yosemite Falls at right.

Taft_Point_West_View_X6728


Taft Point West View X6728
(656 KB)

This 24mm conventional wide-angle shot from the same position east of Taft Point Overlook
shows Cathedral Rocks on the left and the Merced River and El Capitan on the right in Autumn.
Note the prominent U-shape of the glacial valley. This is most easily seen from Discovery View
(aka Tunnel View, beyond Cathedral Rocks), which can be seen on the Valley Views page.

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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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