View Full Version : New camera angle at Yosemite.org

Keith S. Walklet
11-Mar-2006, 11:12
For all those virtual Yosemite enthusiasts, there is a new tool to take the guesswork out of sunset imagemaking. The webcam on Turtleback Dome has been reoriented to point west toward the setting sun, rather than east toward Half Dome. Combined with satellite imagery of weather systems on the major weather websites, it is now possible to be in a wifi hotspot or someplace like the Ansel Adams Gallery in the early afternoon and see what the cloud cover and weather conditions are to the west are likely to be at sunset. Much better odds for gauging the potential for magic light on the valley icons without driving all the way up to Turtleback. With four cameras at different elevations, it is also much easier to see what the current snow level is. Check it out yourself at www.yosemite.org.

Brian Vuillemenot
11-Mar-2006, 13:31
Perhaps they could also install cement markers indicating the precise position of Ansel's tripod legs for every single shot he made there? Then they could link them all together with a pathway of fluorescent green paint, and call it the "Ansel Adams Trail". Any large format photographer worth his Velvia or T-Max needs to make a point of exactly duplicating every Yosemite shot AA made! ;)

John Kasaian
11-Mar-2006, 13:45

They already have that. LF shooters get to ride in a cng fueled tram (with scheduled cappuccino breaks of course!);-)

ronald moravec
11-Mar-2006, 23:23
Ah, but you you can`t duplicate a landscape. Never. I tried to repeat my own work on a few occasions and can`t do it.

David Karp
12-Mar-2006, 08:59
From their website:

"The Yosemite Association is a not-for-profit educational organization dedicated to the support of Yosemite National Park through a program that includes membership, book publishing and sales, outdoor seminars, and visitor services. Established in 1923, the association was the first such "cooperating association" in the U.S. Our revenues are used to support education, museum, research, and environmental programs in Yosemite through donations to the National Park Service."

I think our tax money is probably being wasted elsewhere.

Keith S. Walklet
12-Mar-2006, 11:18
Thanks for the clarification Dave. For a brief history of virtual Yosemite, I offer this:

When Apple produced their first digital capture capture devices, Rich Sieling (founder of West Coast Imaging who was at that time working for The Ansel Adams Gallery) put one to use recording current park conditions, such as the dogwood bloom and waterfalls, which he then posted on his personal website at www.halfdome.com for the benefit of photographers like himself. This glimpse of current conditions in the park proved very popular and he eventually he began provide the same images for use on the non-profit Yosemite Association website.

After consulting with Rich on equipment, I also began to record conditions, posting the images for my employer, Yosemite Concession Services at www. yosemitepark.com.

I don't recall which was first, but about a year later, two "live" webcams appeared. One was pointed by Rich at Half Dome through the trees from his employee housing residence behind the Ansel Adams Gallery. That camera was also linked to www.halfdome.com.

A second camera was pointed at Half Dome by Dan Lyle, an executive with the Yosemite Concessions Services, who lived a few houses down from me on Ahwahnee Meadow. That was hooked into his personal website, and he kindly permitted YCS to link to it.

Some time later Yosemite Association received a grant to install a new camera on the weather station at Turtleback Dome, which was also pointed at El Capitan and Half Dome. Years later, a similar arrangement was made to install an additional webcam on the communications tower below Sentinel Dome. This was also pointed at Half Dome, but shows the high country beyond, and snowpack. And last year, a fourth camera was installed at Tioga Pass.

Having been in the public information business, I find that a picture really is worth a thousand words, and these cameras were very helpful, not just selfishly for my own photographic endeavors, but for travellers headed to the park. In particular, they showed snowlines in real-time, which is far more effective than a pre-recorded message offering a snow level that varied by thousands of feet in elevation.

But, having three of the four current cameras pointed at Half Dome was somewhat redundant, even if the views were all spectacular. Now, with one of them swung around to the west, the picture is much more complete.

And I am certainly in favor of less driving. A round-trip from Valley View to Turtleback Dome by car to assess conditions is about 15 miles and takes about 45 minutes, not to mention traffic, gas, hydrocarbons, etc. Much simpler, and more pleasant to call my lovely wife to have her take a peek on-line to determine if it is clear to west, so that if it is socked in, I can use the time more effectively focusing on details. And if I am leading a workshop, I can make even better use of the students limited time in the park. And, catch that latte when the action slows down. ;-)