Ever Felt Like You Were Meant to be at a Certain Place at a Certain Time?

"Half Dome Sunrise - Yosemite Valley"

Have you ever had a moment when you had the feeling that you were meant to be in that specific place and time?

Some call it fate, destiny or kismet. I believe it is more divine in origin and a similar sensation to deja vu but with much more excitement and certainty.

When I had the privilege to capture this picture of a Half Dome Sunrise in Yosemite National Park I experienced that awesome gift.

The journey to this moment was totally spontaneous and meant to be. My work allows me to travel occasionally and on a business trip to survey retail stores I met some good fortune. On this trip the schedule had two stores in Southern California and one in San Jose in the bay area.  My plan was to start in Los Angeles, go north to Santa Maria, drive up the Pacific Coast Highway to San Jose. A great road trip by itself.

After the second store was done, I received a call from the client canceling the last store. So there I was with a free day at my bidding. Knowing that I had to go north and drive up one of the most beautiful roads on the planet to reach my flight home didn't sound bad at all.

However, I had a decision to make about what to do with my open day, either go home early or find an adventure. In a moment of inspiration, I thought, "I can go to Yosemite for a day."  I had a car but nowhere to stay once I got there. So, might as well go camping.

I got out my phone and found what appeared to be the last open campsite in the park. What luck! It being a business trip I had no equipment or provisions for building a campsite. So it was off to Walmart to find what I needed. I bought a little tent, a sleeping bag, pillow and pad to sleep on along with one of those miner's lights for my hat.

For food, I bought what Lisa and I ate while hiking the first time we were in Yosemite: beef jerky, Clif bars, water, Gatorade and a couple of Snickers bars. I was all set for my adventure. 

Next, I suffered the 3 hour drive up Highway 1 with the Pacific Ocean on my left and mountains to the right. (You should try it sometime.)  I stayed in the town of Merced for the night and got up early in the morning to reach my destination before the crowds. My first stop in the park was to draw El Capitan. It the most fun I've ever had drawing with a bus load of Japanese tourists admiring my work and taking pictures of me.

I created three drawings that day  and felt a peaceful joy while scribbling away on the paper. When I wasn't drawing, I was being amused by the humans standing in awe of such a beautiful place. One question that came to mind was this: "Why are we so moved by the natural beauty of the mountains, meadows and waterfalls?" Nature touches something in our souls and draws us like a magnet. But why did God imprint this into our being? Let me know what you think.


"The Guardian - El Capitan" One the drawings I created on day one in Yosemite

After a great day, I found the campsite and set up my little tent, ate a little bit and went to bed. About 4am I woke up with what I thought was a street light above my tent. I got up and found in the sky one of those "super" full moons that we occasionally have. 

The light was so intense that I knew I wouldn't get back to sleep. Then another brilliant idea hit me…I'm going to drive up to Glacier Point and watch the sun come up. As everyone in the campground slept I packed up and made the one hour trip up to this incredible vista.

When I arrived, the sky was getting brighter with that cool, grayish-blue light before the sun comes over the horizon. There were about six other brilliant people who made the same decision I did. Boy, were we rewarded!

It was an amazing experience watching the progression of the light change and illuminate Half Dome and the other gray peaks of the High Sierras.

Half Dome and the High Sierra at the break of dawn

 What was really fascinating was seeing the green colors of the forest and deep blues in the valley below. All of this visual stimuli was serenaded by a feather-like silence that was overlaid with the gentle roar of Nevada and Vernal Falls.

Add in a dash of aroma from the ponderosa pine and cedar trees and it was a glorious assault on your senses. From the expressions on their faces, I'm sure my newly found brilliant friends were feeling the same thing but not as conscious of it. As the sun rose and peeked behind Half Dome, the chatter subsided and the only sound you heard was an occasional impulsive but quiet "Wow" escape from someone.

With this photo the light was just right, the subject matter was perfect and the composition was so instinctively natural. With every click of the shutter, the adrenalin rush increased. I knew that this was a special photo. I hope that you enjoy it and feel the warmth of the sunrise through the image.

May you some day come to be blessed with the feeling of divine connection with a moment in the beauty of nature. It is what makes us feel more alive and human.

The finished photo of the sun rising over the Mountains in Yosemite National Park