Yosemite In Pictures

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Yosemite in Pictures by Ryan Alonzo.

There are a lot of photography books about Yosemite National Park, and sometimes it seems like the photographers shoot the same scene from the same place at the same time. Maybe they look for the marks of previous tripods.

At first I wasn't sure about Ryan Alonzo's new book, Yosemite in Pictures, because it's such a departure from the jaded, over-saturated, overly familiar scenes. But, after a few readings, I really appreciate this small homage to such an amazing place. Trying to show Yosemite is always a challenge, but Alonzo successfully reveals the diversity of canyon, cliff, and peak.

Working for a decade in the park has taken Alonzo into areas not normally documented, and many of his locations are new, unusual, or just seen with a different eye and a different aspect. There are intimate details of natural processes, like the spring redbuds over a raging torrent and a carpet of golden-coined aspen leaves after a rain. His detail of bluish water pouring over amber granite is gorgeous.

The book's 48 pages are divided into Yosemite's great regions: The Valley, Mariposa Grove (there's a great photo of wind-blown snow against the Sequoia trunks), Glacier Point (a lovely shot of Half Dome rising above wispy clouds), Tuolumne Meadows, and the High Country (thank goodness someone's still getting off the road into the 90% of the park that most visitors don't see).

Alonzo's captions are long enough to describe what's happening, but short enough to give a lot of white space around his photos. There's also a wonderful twilight two-page panoramic of the Cathedral Range, with the peaks named: there's a lot of country outside of the Valley.

The size works well too: this is not a coffee table book, but an intimate 8"X7" hardcover with a soft varnish that feels great to the fingers. It's published by the Yosemite Conservancy.