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Panama Canal - Patagonia and Yosemite - part 5 of 1 2 3 4 5 6

by Mike McNamee Published 01/02/2016


How many shots did you make?
Approximately 150 in colour and 100 in IR.

In terms of scale, how big is the landscape you were working in?
See John Rowell's section for area and height comparisons. Yosemite extends over a larger area, the walk to Half Dome from the village via Vernal Falls is 17 miles (I've done it - Ed!). There are 800 miles of trails and long-distance paths although you need to be aware of the bears if you camp and follow advice on storing food. A permit is required. It is an offence to leave food in your car; the bears have been known to rip the doors off cars to get to a cheese sandwhich under a car seat!

Did you have local maps?
I just had a local pamphlet map supplied by the Park Rangers and followed the roads. True adventure!

How well marked are the paths?
Very well marked and documented on the park maps. Very much geared up for visitors!

Were there many other people about?
The Yosemite Valley can get busy, certainly around the village but the real wilderness is away from this and especially high up on the Tioga Pass.

What is your favourite moment or experience of the trip?
Seeing the sun setting and going down the face of El Capitan at Tunnel View above the valley.

Which is your favourite image from the trip and why?
The photograph from Tuolumne Meadows at 9,000ft when a storm was passing at the end of the day. The light was clear and crisp at this altitude.

Would you go back again?
Yes!! I have two workshops scheduled for 2016 and we have five photographers booked onto our 2017 workshop already! I am a lucky man!


Commentary - Mike McNamee

One of the many joys of editing Professional Imagemaker is that you occasionally get to compile features such as this. It would take a dull soul to travel with two superb photographers to these remote and foreign lands and not emerge enthused and enlightened. Half of the fun comes from editing text and sifting through images, but equally important is the learning process, conducting background research and reading around the subject. Simply creating and editing the maps and having to look exactly at the route people walked and their journeys to the start requires concentrated reading, as against the quick flick around Google Earth that often suffices.

Both regions are in many ways quite different in their character. Yosemite is slightly softer in its outlines but of a grander scale with towering vertical rock faces and trees the height of multi-storey buildings; it is generally also warmer. Patagonia is characterised by wild, extreme and changeable weather, its rock towers are fortresses from all but the most skilled climbers and there are few 'easy routes around the back' giving access to the summits. This is the place where demons and dragons dwell, holed up against the biting, tearing wind that strips the landscape bare of all but the hardiest shrubbery. Patagonia has active glaciers; those of Yosemite are long gone having completed their sculpting of the valley.

Patagonia is the less visited; it is the furthest place that man has walked to since he up-sticked from Ethiopia and set off on an evolutionary journey that took in the north of India, China, Russia, the Bering Strait (dry shod!) and then down through both North and the recently connected South America. Although it is considered by many to be a footballer factory with a bit of tango thrown in for culture, South America is a rising commercial powerhouse - the meal eaten the day this was written was accompanied by grapes from Peru, cherries from Chile, all washed down with an Argentinian Malbec!

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1st Published 01/02/2016
last update 30/01/2018 12:09:36

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Updated 30/01/2018 12:09:36 Last Modified: Tuesday, 30 January 2018