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Yosemite... The Land of Dreams

As a young landscape photographer, the name Ansel Adams quickly became God-like, and his domain, Yosemite National Park, became a holy grail that I would dream of visiting for many years. I own quite a few photography books by Ansel Adams and they've travelled with me whenever I worked, portals of inspiration when the shutter fell silent and a new vision was needed. Yosemite's many iconic landmarks became as familiar to me as all the places I would visit and photograph in the west of Ireland – familiar but alas not intimate. Half Dome, El Capitan, Vernal Falls and Bridalveil Falls – all names I knew so well, but like football heroes from my childhood books, my stars were out of reach.

I was 43-years old when I finally crossed the Atlantic heading towards San Francisco (Yosemite in my sights!) and trepidation flew with me. I collected my luggage and my rental – easy so far (or so I thought!) – but then after five times around San Fran, I still hadn't found Route 101. On the sixth time around, I got lucky and I was on my way. Leaving the beautiful bay behind me, I was now heading inland on the 580 towards the Sierra Nevada mountains, and as they grew larger, so did the realisation that I would finally be driving through Yosemite, my land of photography dreams. As I drove deeper into the valley, Adams’s books opened up in front of me, my granite heroes stepping from the pages to present themselves, and as the tall redwoods gathered to greet me, I was coming home to a place I had never been.
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