The Story Behind Vernal Falls
Hello, my name is Jamie, and I am a passionate nature & landscape photographer from Las Vegas, Nevada. I have been creating art from my photos for almost 20 years. Lately, I have an overwhelming urge to travel all the time. This year, Yosemite was at the top of the list!
After planning the trip for over a year, my husband and I traveled more than 9 hours in our Airstream with our two pups from our home in Las Vegas to reach this iconic location. One of the most important sights at the top of my list was the John Muir Trail that led up to Vernal Falls. The parking lot was almost half a mile from the trailhead, and we were lucky enough to get the last spot in the lot, which made me even more determined to get the shot I had hoped for.
The road was scattered with several hikers on their way to the trailhead. The birds were chirping, and I could feel the cool breeze on my face. My camera felt heavy as I thought about the extra half mile each way on the hike. The fresh smell of the trees distracted me as I enjoyed the serene nature.
Not too far past the start, the trail started to steepen. Before starting, I had read on my trail app that my journey was a 472ft elevation gain, but I didn't really understand what that meant at the time. While I love the outdoors, I've always been lucky enough to avoid super strenuous hikes. And for me, this was just that! The trail kept going up, and I grew more tired with every step. My legs felt like jello. I didn't think I was going to make it.
Just as I thought I couldn't go any further, my feet just kept on going. I aimed to take a picture of a beautiful waterfall and held onto the thought. Before I knew it, the trail started going down in elevation, and all I could think of was that I would have to walk back up this huge hill to get out of wherever I was going!
Suddenly the bridge to cross the Merced River was in sight, and I could hear the roaring of the falls off in the distance. About halfway across the bridge, I caught a view that stopped me in my tracks. Vernal Falls was peering around the corner past the tall trees. At the same time, the sun came out from behind a cloud and glistened off the white water. With the towering granite walls in the background and the large boulders scattered in the river making up the foreground, the 317-foot waterfall seemed dwarfed in comparison. The combination of these elements created a perspective I just had to capture.
The final result was a work of art that could only be made from a photograph of Yosemite. I captured an image that reminded me just how small an individual feels standing in this grand landscape. It was the perfect addition to my growing portfolio of Yosemite images, and I was proud to be able to share it with the world.