Dolores M. Clark
Yosemite Valley Winterland Show
"Sentinel of the Meadow"
One of the happiest weeks of my life was spent in Yosemite Valley a few years back. Each morning before the sun was up, my friends and I breakfasted and headed out in the newly fallen and falling snow. And fall it did the entire week which might seem to some as a shame, but imagine each morning as the sun rose turning pink the immaculate snow which was heavy on the trees and cliffs, there was not a single foot print to be seen anywhere, a photographer’s dream.
During the day a couple of hours of sunlight would break through and light up the Valley with spectacular photo opportunities for color, for reflections on the streams, and for shadows. But for the most part the lighting came through the heavy snow laden clouds which lent itself to my favorite type of photograph, black and white. It was a challenge when the snow was falling to keep the flakes off the lens or to have to clean them later in Photoshop. When photographing the “Sentinel of the Meadow,” I had to retake several shots to get the one that the blobs of snow hitting the lens didn’t ruin.
Filming at night was a challenge as I recall trying to capture the full moon. I moved away from the two male photographers and became totally engrossed in the moon shot. My friend came over and said, “Dolores, you had better stick close to us, because there are coyotes calling to each other near us.” I looked up as I was moving my equipment and saw a line of eight to ten coyotes moving some 50 feet from where I had been!
After a week’s shooting, our group parted and left the Valley. I felt myself overwhelmed with emotion, tears filling up inside of me, and as they burst through I realized I had experience a full week of absolute bliss of being surrounded by Nature’s Beauty, and I cried all the way down the mountain with pure joy.
Patterns of Growth
We look to nature for the reminder that our experience is fluid and sensible in ways we will never understand. We take a step back to find that our growth comes in perfectly spaced increments. We need this, as we exist in the chaotic and exciting emotional present. We need objects and rituals that slow us down. This work is meant to be an anecdote to hurry and a halt to convenience. It's meant to show us the peaceful ticking to a different clock that steadies and supports us.