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Entries in national park (28)

Saturday
Dec132014

Yosemite National Park - Photoblog

We went to Yosemite with the cousins for Thanksgiving. Finally got to edit the "non- people" photos from the trip.

A long trail to "mirror lake" which turned out to be a dry bed with no water! The board said "mirror lake is a misnomer. it is not a lake"

It is a photographers job to make do with whatever water comes our way while on a trail that promised "lake".. so started shooting reflections of the mountains on any and every large puddle.  So here is a series of photos from the puddle shoot. They are all reflections from small puddles.

Then it was time to see the "lake".. 

the views from this dry bed were fantastic. We had a lone buck grazing there..

We walked by a creek on the way back and I got to photograph anything that caught my eye..

from moss to mushrooms..

For once, a reflection from a creek instead of a puddle..

There must be a lot more water there now after the heavy rains from last week.. but it was a good thing we went during Thanksgiving break. Parking was easy to find, less crowded and the trails were not slippery. That helped us with the climb all the way to Nevada falls on the second day. We spent 6 hours on the trail and my legs were wobbling after the fast descent. Should have paced myself. In trying to catch up with the group after taking pictures, did some bad moves and it took a toll on my knees.

We caught both Vernal and Nevada falls. Vernal falls had a lot more water on our last visit. Still it was a pretty sight. 

On the way to our cabins we stopped by the Swinging bridge. There was some water, lots of clouds and the sunset turned the coulds bright red. It was an unforgettable drive but there are no pictures of the sunset. The legs were trembling and it was time to go drink tea in the cabins!

On the third day we visited two trails while heading out of Yosemite. One was the trail for a Carson falls and the other was Rainbow Push. They were both within 15 miles of the west entrance. It started raining heavily and we had to rush through both these trails. It was a vibrant early morning..

Even HDR images do not match what the eyes saw that morning. 

We made it back through pouring rain. It was a great experience to stay in Yosemite for a couple of nights and spend more time in the park. Our earlier trips have all been day trips with one 2-3 hour hike at the most. 

The cabins at Yosemite lake are strongly recommended. Nice, cozy and a decent kitchen. 

The kids thoroughly enjoyed playing board games and the whole cozy cabin experience!

A big thanks to all those who support the National park system!

Saturday
Nov292014

Time to be thankful..

Thanksgiving as a festival always eludes me. The whole Indians-Pilgrims-Turkey-Corn thingy doesn't strike a chord. 

Since getting married though it has been a means to celebrate Sangeetha and my birthday at nice locations as this holiday falls between our two birthdays. 

People tell me "this is a time to say thanks and be thankful for the good things in your life". If there is one thing to be thankful for in this life, it is family!

For the last 16 years we have mostly spent this long weekend with the cousins family at parks, theme or national..

This year was no different. We went to Yosemite Falls for two days. Got to see some wondeful sights, get way more exercise than we bargained for and had some fun times playing board games in a cozy cabin!

The pictures are promising so far..

San turns 29 again today! I am thankful to her parents for their first creation, who gave me a second chance in life and has made a better person out of me than I would have thought possible.

Here's to San, second chances and family!

Wednesday
May282014

A trip to Lassen Volcanic National Park

The long weekend that comes after a long long time every year came and went. We HAD to go somewhere on a long drive to relieve all that pent up stress of the routine between January to the end of May. 

We decided to visit Lassen National park after a six year gap with the cousin family. We had a ton of fun over the two day trip. 

The weather was perfect. There was lots of snow in the ground at 7000-8000+ feet altitudes. There was plenty of water gushing down the cascades and waterfalls. It was just perfect!

Ice had started melting and it created caves that had a nice bluish glow with the light reflecting from the other side!


Last time we visited this park, it was mostly snowed out and we could not go on any trails as they were all closed. We drove through the loop and came back. This time though, things were different. 

There were snowball fights, adventurous trekking, the kids all grown up and at an age where watching them interact and play is a joy in itself. Even the driving to and from the park was pleasant compared to the usual because we decided to put the younger kids in one vehicle and the older kids in the other vehicle!

We could clearly see the hot sulfur springs for a change!

and watch the sulfur meet the water which makes for some amazing hues..

We made one mistake, or rather the park authorities did. While trying to get to the Kings Creek falls, there was a trail that was closed. Given all the snow, we were off the trail walking in snow. Two families we crossed in the opposite direction told us "just follow the footsteps on the snow".. turns out we wandered off on a closed trail that was very dangerous. We made it in one piece to the falls and back where a rock slide had recently crossed the trail. It was quite and adventure with the kids. 

What were we thinking!

For some strange reason, I did not haul my tripod on the trip. So fancy falls pictures to show. Did get a few shots by placing camera on a rock tripod I built at the base of the falls.. 

Here are the only decent shots of the different falls I managed to get.. Did get a lot of pictures of the kids in action.. but they go on other Social Media!

That last shot almost cost me the camera! 

On day two we visited all the "vista points" and let the kids play in the snow some more. We also went on a beautiful trail around Manzanita lake and around the Lily pond. Thoroughly enjoyed it. Here are some pictures from those two hikes.

That we learned is Lichens.. not moss! It gave the giant trees a flourescent hue that was fantastic.

Lake Helen, although frozen provided other entertainment .. like me doing Triangle pose on snow/ice in front of the family! 

The beautiful Manzanita lake..

There were a lot of ripples.. but given my tripodlessness, opted to take the shot at a very high shutter speed to avoid the ripples.. this was taken with a 1/4000 or 1/8000 speed with ISO at 400. While driving back I realized that to get the entire reflection, a better idea would have been to use the full ND filter instead of the graduated ND filter and go a good 1/2 a second or 1 second at f22 with ISO 100. That experiment will be for the next trip or next reflection shot that comes our way!

The famous standing boulder at Bumpass hell..

Now for some pictures with the kids in action to add more beauty to the scenery..

and last but not least, the ghost cat.. 

and one of our best outdoor family portaits in recent memory (thanks to BB for the click)!

Strongly recommend Lassen as a weekend trip from the bay area, if.. IF it is not snowed out and you can get accomodation last minute at Red Bluff, which is 45 minutes away from park entrance. This is a lot less crowded than Yosemite and a lot more fun in our opinion!

Monday
May262014

RESPECT

When we do Bikram Yoga, the teachers sometimes say "Take a large step sideways.. at least 4 feet.. don't worry about slipping on the carpet. If you do this right, and use your inner thighs, Bikram says you can do this pose on ICE!"

Most teachers laugh when they say that knowing that it is difficult enough not to slip on a sweaty flotex carpet. 

We visited Lassen Volcanic National park for the long weekend. We knew there was going to be lots of snow there from the live webcam that the park service provides! 

While the kids were dreaming of snowball fights I was planning to do Triangle pose on ice. Wanted to give it a shot.. why not?! 

When we went there the first evening, it took some time getting used to 8000 feet elevation. On the second day though, did give it a try. There were jokes from the group about Daddy Narayanan getting arrested for indecent exposure on the mountain tops wearing only his yoga short shorts. 

It was not exactly a slab of ice.. it was still snow. Given that I had already walked barefoot in that snow for some time and my feet had lost communication with my brain, it was easy to do. Not my best triangle.. but first one on snow. 

Now I know why the teachers laugh.. 

Did try to do a bow pose with the same level of success. 

Doing Yoga in a hot room on a flat mat is sooo much more easier than doing anything in freezing snow or ice. They say that the sages in the Himalayas sit through these conditions for days. The monks in Tibet go sit with just a loin cloth for hours. There must be some trick I am missing..

In any case, have increased respect for those monks and sages who can actually sit there for hours. I spent at the most 30 minutes barefoot walking to some locations and posing a few times. 

Will post pictures from the trip soon..

Sunday
Feb092014

Tongariro National Park- New Zealand 

One of the places that will stay in our memory forever in the December New Zealand trip is Tongariro National park. A place that has majestic volcanos, snow covered mountains, breathtaking waterfalls, scenic views of the plains with clouds moving so fast.. the list goes on!

Here are a few select pictures from this place..

The Taranaki waterfall is simply breathtaking. It takes a 2 hour hike to get there but it was totally worth the effort! The red rocks and the green waters somehow make a soothing combination.

The clouds dashing against the three big mountains in Tongariro national park.

We did not see many animals or birds on a day long hike through Tongariro all the way to Taranaki falls and back. We then proceeded towards the worlds highest working hotel (?!) which was in Whakapapa. Unfortunately the ski lift used to get there was closed. So we got to the base and drank hot chocolate. The views from this place were awesome. 

On the way back to Turangi (where it all starts at a visitor center), the boys decided to go for another hike in the rain to Emerald lake. We thought we were gone for an hour, but it happened to be two and we will never forget the reprimand from the ladies..

The lake was amazing. Crystal clear water, nice beaches, no people, just a hike through a fern forest!

Even this panorama shot doesn't do justice to showing how beautiful this place is!

There were supposed to be more than 20 types of birds in the rain forest.. but I saw one. My BIL maybe saw two.. The pidgeon in New Zealand is 2x the size of the normal pidgeon you see in the US!

By the time we got back to the vehicles after seeing the lake, it started pouring. There was a plan to see the trout feeding outside the visitor center in Turangi, but after we learned that the trout was imported from California, we passed and headed back to Lake Taupo basecamp.

The sunset that welcomed us back at Taupo was out of this world as well. As you can tell, this was going to be the "Happy New Year 2014" greeting card from New Zealand.

We did go to four more places in the North island over the next three days. The way things are going, we may not see those photos processed for a month or two. 

If you go to the North island in New Zealand and are a "National Park" type person, you cannot miss this one. Must see!