Yosemite Valley Under Water

Half Dome and oaks in flooded Leidig Meadow, Yosemite Valley, June 16th
Half Dome and oaks in flooded Leidig Meadow, Yosemite Valley, June 16th
Last Thursday my wife Claudia and I rose early and drove up to Yosemite Valley to see the high water. When we arrived, we found Swinging Bridge almost completely submerged, and large portions of Leidig and Chapel meadows resembled lakes.

I wanted to make a photograph that "said" high water—that really showed the flood. But when the water is this high, many of the best viewpoints are under water! I found a spot in Leidig Meadow that looked great, with two of my favorite Yosemite Valley oaks rising out of the pond. But there was no way to photograph these trees from dry ground without contending with intervening branches and trunks. If I wanted this photograph, I'd have to wade in.

Anticipating this possibility, I'd worn my shorts. But I'd expected to contend with a foot or two or water; instead I found myself in up to my waist at times. Man, was that cold! In the video below Claudia captured footage of me in action (if you can call wading into a pond action). You'll also see the view from the pond, and the raging river below Pohono Bridge.

Hot temperatures this week have raised the water in Yosemite Valley to near flood stage again. So there's still time to see sights like this if you can make it up to the park.

—Michael Frye

In the Moment: Michael Frye's Landscape Photography Blog

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6 Comments

    Very nice morning shot! I found the same conditions at Cathedral Beach when trying for a El Capitan reflection in the Merced River. Had to settle for just the reflection due to not enough river bank to get El Capitan. I didn’t want to venture out into the current as it was flowing very strong!

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