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Dull, flat and smoky light on Saturday was not appealing. Yet Sunday offered perhaps the most spectacularly beautiful day I’ve ever experienced in Yosemite—out of perhaps twenty visits over two decades. I felt inadequate to the task of communicating that feeling, but I worked hard at it in-between Scharffenberger Milk Chocolate Nibby chocolate bars. (Click images below for larger versions).

A favorite canyon

I made dozens of appealing images, some of which shall emerge here in due time. But first, consider the “recent” events that shaped the Yosemite of today, the master artist’s massive hand, the result of which lingers today 10,000 years or so later: brutally hard granite sculpted smooth with “glacial polish”. I find such effects as impressive as the granite monoliths so often seen (yet not experienced) from fossil fuel-propelled cocoons.

Glacially polished granite and Half Dome

No one can imagine the crushing force that could produce such effects—a staggering weight of ice (along with rocks and grit) become nature’s rock polisher. Yet nature erases most such ephemeral handiwork quickly. Life struggles year after year to reproduce, failing 99.999% of the time, but succeeding often enough to win in the end—for a time.

Failed reproductive attempts by the tens of thousands

Ironically, ice destroys where it once sculpted, tearing, wearing, cracking, wedging. Granite is not so permanent in the scheme of things.

Slowly but surely

All of the images above were taken with the Zeiss ZF 25mm f/2.8 Distagon (prototype infrared lens for most, and the regular production version for the glacial polish/Half Dome image). I will be very sorry to have to return the prototype 25mm lens in the next day or two.

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