High Above it All - Yosemite National Park, California

Washburn Point, Yosemite National Park, California

Next year, one of my favorite national parks will celebrate its 125th anniversary. In 1890, through the efforts of naturalist John Muir, this amazing landscape tucked away in the Sierra Nevada mountain range was designated a national park by Congress. The park's popularity skyrocketed when famed photographer Ansel Adams published his compelling photos showing the beauty of the terrain.

One of the great places to get an expansive view of the Yosemite Valley is to head up to Glacier Point. Although it is only 1 mile away as the crow flies (looking up), it is a 30 mile drive to get there. It can get quite crowded there, as it gives a great angled view of Half Dome. For a more secluded view of the valley (and much less crowded), take a hike to Washburn Point (the trailhead is quite near Glacier Point). From there you get a 360-degree view that includes Half Dome (although its face is not as visible) and two of Yosemite's waterfalls, Vernal and Nevada Falls. The only regret that I have is not shooting a panorama that would show more of the valley. Something for my next trip there.