Yosemite Valley Chapel

Yosemite Falls

Yosemite Falls above the Chapel in Color

Yosemite National Park is intriguing. Lots to discover there. In 1863, Albert Bierstadt painted  Domes of Yosemite. That’s the very same painting that inspired my recent book, Indigo Sky. In my next book, my heroine is born in Yosemite. So, I am researching again. This time my research  unveiled the chapel. The chapel is located just below Yosemite Falls, that’s depicted in the painting.

Yosemite Falls

Yosemite Falls above the Chapel in black & white, different angle than above

The Yosemite Valley Chapel was built in the Yosemite Valley of California in 1879. It is the oldest standing structure in Yosemite National Park.

Chapel snuggled between mountains and trees

Chapel snuggled between mountains and trees

The wooden chapel was designed by San Francisco architect Charles Geddes in the Carpenter Gothic style. It was built by Geddes’ son-in-law, Samuel Thompson of San Francisco, for the California State Sunday School Association, at a cost of three or four thousand dollars.

The chapel was originally built in the “Lower Village” as called then, its site at the present day trailhead of the Four Mile Trail . The chapel was moved to its present location in 1901, as the old Lower Village dwindled.

As stipulated in the organization’s application for permission, the chapel is an interdenominational facility. The L-shaped frame chapel covers an area of about 1,470 square feet (137 m2). It is clad in board and batten siding with a prominent steeple. It seats about 250 people.

Preservation
Snow in the park, there is snow in California

Snow in the park, there is snow in California

The chapel was restored in 1965, when its foundations were raised in response to a 1964 flood, but was damaged in the 1997 Yosemite Valley floods and required repair. The chapel was placed on the National Register of Historic Places on December 12, 1973.

 

Fascinating, this Yosemite National Park.

Fall colors

Fall colors

Do you think you might like to hike one of the trails?

Romancing Coney Island

Horse & cart

Horse & cart

My romance with Coney Island, when I was about five years-old or so, began at grandma’s house when the iceman delivered ice on his cart, pulled by a horse. He drove down the street hollering, “Ice for sale, ice for sale.” Looked like to me, those huge tongs could almost pick up a dog. He used them to bring the block of ice into the house, and put it in grandma’s icebox. Some of us had refrigerators, but grandma only had an icebox. The iceman always showed up before the ice was all gone. That’s all I remember about that piece of history. Finally, we moved grandma to a place that had a refrigerator. No one had a TV,  people played card games, and listened to the radio. Grandma’s radio was a floor model that would constantly lose reception. When I visited her, and it lost reception, she said, “Bang it hard here, on the side.” That always fixed it.

Childs in its day

Childs in its day

My romance grew. Ever have a Chow Mein sandwich? I thought it was a Nathan’s of Coney Island specialty, but I found this in Google: Originating in Fall River, Massachusetts, in the 1930s or 1940s, the chow mein sandwich is a hot sandwich, which typically consists of a brown gravy-based chow mein mixture placed between halves of a hamburger-style bun, popular on Chinese-American restaurant menus throughout southeastern Massachusetts and parts of neighboring Rhode Island. This sandwich is not well known outside of this relatively small area of New England. Really? What are they talking about? The chow mein sandwich was mega popular in Coney Island at Nathan’s, and a favorite of mine. So . . . did Nathan’s steal the idea, or were they the originator?

Childs interior

Childs interior

The teen years are fun to save for another blog, but a foodery I loved, was Childs Restaurant.

Coney Island institutions have a way of disappearing without leaving anything on the boardwalk to remember them by. That’s so with Childs Restaurant, the seaside outpost of a popular early 20th Century lunchroom chain, that was built in 1923 and whose frame still stands today. If you’ve ever taken a stroll on the boardwalk, west of the parachute jump and Keyspan Park, you’ve probably noticed its massive facade, leftovers once adorned with flamboyant nautical details.

Childs now . . . sad

Childs now . . .  Designed by Dennison & Hirons,

The building is now  vacant and boarded up. Story of this great restaurant is that it has stuck around for so long  because it’s kept a steady number of tenants over the years, including a chocolate factory and then a glitzy roller rink.

Roller rink inside the defunct Childs

Roller rink inside the defunct Childs

Terra cotta details

Terra cotta details once on Childs facade by Atlantic Terra Cotta Co.

On a visit to Coney in 2010 I found the building derelict. So sad. I took lots of photos and have been painting from my camera shots.

After the destruction from hurricane Sandy in 2012, Coney Island has been restructured, rebuilt and re-energized. It’s a wonderful place to play, have Nathan’s hot, buttered corn, people watch, and walk in the sand, fish from the pier and ride water scooters over the waves. Fireworks used to be every Tuesday night. Hmm, I wonder . . .

What do you think?

 

 

SOLDIERS OF PASSION

 

Buffalo monument at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas

Buffalo monument at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas

Indigo Sky, my soon-to-be published historical romance, is centered in the nineteenth-century, and partly takes place in Yosemite. While researching Yosemite again for my next book, I uncovered a prize in Yosemite—Buffalo Soldiers.

“Buffalo Soldiers” was a nickname given to the Negro Cavalry by the Native American tribes they fought in Yosemite. In September 1867, Private John Randall was assigned to escort two civilians on a hunting trip. The hunters suddenly became the hunted when a band of seventy Cheyenne warriors swept down on them. The two civilians quickly fell in the initial attack and Randall’s horse was shot out from beneath him. Randall managed to scramble to safety behind a washout under the railroad tracks, where he fended off the attack with only his pistol and 17 rounds of ammunition until help from the nearby camp arrived. The Cheyenne beat a hasty retreat, leaving behind 13 fallen warriors. Private Randall suffered a gunshot wound to his shoulder and 11 lance wounds, but recovered. The Cheyenne quickly spread word of this new type of soldier, “who had fought like a cornered buffalo— who like a buffalo had suffered wound after wound, yet had not died; and who like a buffalo had a thick and shaggy mane of hair.”

25th Regiment

25th Regiment

The term eventually became synonymous with all of the African-American regiments. During the American Civil War, the government formed “colored troops.” After the war, Congress reorganized the army and authorized the formation of two regiments of black cavalry with Infantry designations. Some took the job of protecting Yosemite, others in Yellowstone.

soldier

soldier

The late 1800′s saw civil rights issues  at its extreme. Discrimination increased as the number of African-American U.S. soldiers increased. Racial segregation plagued the nation, yet our soldiers  of color exhibited an attitude that reflected their “distinguished service,”  protecting their country. In 1886, uncontrolled fires traumatized parks and its inhabitants. According to the National Park Services, in the mid 1800′s, army regiments were dispatched to Yosemite. Four of the six regiments that patrolled Yosemite National Park were African-American–the Buffalo Soldiers, whose duties were evicting poachers and timber thieves and extinguishing forest fires.

Buffalo_Soldier_9th_Cav_DenverNot exactly current events, but some relatively recent history: The 1960 Western film Sergeant Rutledge tells the story of the trial of a 19th-century black Army first sergeant of the 9th Cavalry, played by Woody Strode, falsely accused of rape and murder. One of the characters narrates a history of the term “Buffalo Soldier” as coming from Plains Indians who first saw troopers of the 9th Cavalry wearing buffalo coats and caps in winter, and thought they looked like buffaloes. The movie’s theme song, titled “Captain Buffalo”, was written by Mack David and Jerry Livingston. In the last decade, the employment of the Buffalo Soldiers by the United States Army in the Indian Wars has led a few historical revisionists to call for the “critical reappraisal” of the “Negro regiments.” In this viewpoint, shared by a small minority, the Buffalo Soldiers were used as mere shock troops or accessories to the forcefully-expansionist goals of the U.S. government at the expense of the Native Americans and other minorities.

The Buffalo Soldier Cavalry Regiment was formed in 1866 at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, and was an active regiment until the Korean War in 1951. The last and oldest living Buffalo Soldier, Mark Matthews, died at the age of 111 on September 6, 2005 and was buried at Arlington National Cemetery. An honor reserved for those who have gallantly served our country.

 

“History is a source of strength,” says Pulitzer Price winning historian, David McCullough. “It sets higher standards for all of us.”

What era in American History surprised you?

 

BUMBO

Rough journeys

Rough journeys

Pestilence and death accompanied the emigrants from across the seas. The 114 colonists who established Savannah on February 12, 1733, were transported to America aboard the Good Ship Anne. Captain John Thomas, who was in command, had the responsibility of getting these people to the new land of opportunity. They left Gravesend on the Thames on November 16, 1732. Danger surrounded them when their water turned foul and black, the beer soured, the daily ration was cut to about two cups a day, and molasses was used to sweeten what water remained. Two children died, chickens and animals died. Dr. William Cox, almost killed those still alive with the practice of blood letting. The people got preached to by the bastard son of the Earl of Torrington, Reverend Dr. Henry Herbert. Well, guess that wasn’t his fault, born a bastard, but in those days, people knew who the bastards were, and frowned down upon them. This didn’t sound like the trip of your dreams.

colonists

colonists

But all was not bad. Story says that one night flying fish landed on board. Strange birds were sighted, one was caught and eaten. James Edward Oglethorpe under a parasol, (hmm, that’s an umbrella) went fishing in the ship’s long boat. I wonder who held the umbrella? A dolphin was caught and given to the pregnant women.  No one else ate, not Oglethorpe either, but to celebrate his birthday on December 21, Oglethorpe dispensed mutton, (guess he killed a lamb) broth and bumbo* to the merry passengers (actually they weren’t merry until after the bumbo). Toasts were made to the health of the success of the colony of Georgia. They seem to have plenty of alcoholic, imbibing liquids. Good thing, they should have used those liquids for cleansing, instead of blood letting . . .

ship 1703

ship 1703

By January 13, 1733, the Anne arrived off the bar of Charleston, South Carolina. Oglethorpe went ashore and obtained the king’s pilot, Mr. Middleton, to guide the ship southward to Port Royal. After a short stay in newly erected barracks, the colonists were brought up the Savannah River aboard six small boats and landed at Yamacraw Bluff on February 12, 1733, the anniversary that has been celebrated ever since as Georgia day.

This is an excerpt by John Duncan, Professor Emeritus, at Armstrong Atlantic State University, that I found on a paper placemat at the Boars Head Grill  & Tavern on the wharf in Savannah.

*Bumbo–cold punch, rum, sugar, water & nutmeg. This–is a good recipe!

sailed into port

sailed into port

Do you have any relatives that fit the Good  Ship Anne?

 

MORE PHOTOGRAPHY . . .

childhood

1990 William’s funhouse

Same Gallery . . .Gallery 270 in Englewood, NJ, as my last Why Photography blog a couple of weeks ago. What makes photography so wonderful is, we get to experience the manipulation of an image through the artist’s eye using a camera, rather than a paintbrush, or other methodology.
In this case by photographer Michael Massaia.

According to Tom Gramegna, Director of the Gallery:

“It is commonly accepted that much of who we become as adults is often dictated by the indelible experiences we have in the formative years of our youth” writes Gallery 270 director Tom Gramegna about Michael Massaia’s current show “Scenes From A Childhood”

When we were young, most of us “experienced moments where we felt isolated, alone, with an inability to connect with reality”.  Michael has used those experiences to push the envelope and come up with  photography seen as an art not seen before.

 

Hello Kitty Neopolitan

Neapolitan Sandwich

 

 

Screen-shot-2013-10-17-at-12.02.02-PM-150x150 10982623_10152717291608021_9126338918085716084_n Screen-shot-2013-10-17-at-12.03.36-PM-150x150pinball

In the rides and attractions of the Jersey Shore, seen by millions, there is a longing for simpler times evidenced by Michael’s analog pinball machines and in the simple recognition of the “whimsical and cosmic beauty” found in a melting ice-pop.

Michael is passionate about doing original work that has never been accomplished before. His photography is self taught. He controls the process and does not use Photoshop to alter or touch up his work. He creates his prints in multiple sizes, surfaces and techniques. His hauntingly beautiful and groundbreaking photographs are surprisingly affordable given the huge time and effort just one print takes for the artist to produce.”

The show at Gallery 270, Tom Gramegna, Director, runs until May 2, 2015, 10 N. Dean St. Englewood, NJ 201-871-4113. Call the gallery for prices.

Tom also has a fabulous camera store Bergen County Camera. Everything you ever wanted in a camera is there, plus an amazing, knowledgeable staff.
270 Westwood Avenue, Westwood, NJ 07675, 201-664-4113×202

Contact and website info:

tomg@bergencountycamera.com
tomg@gallery270.com
www.bergencountycamera.com
www.gallery270.com

Do you enjoy/love photography? What’s your opinion? Let’s let Tom know what you think.

SPIDERS, GHOSTS and BOTANICALS

Yellow Sac Spider

Yellow Sac Spider

Spiders, ghosts and botanicals. You might find any of those at our old, built in 1867, sixty-two room  Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum anytime.  I have found some, especially botanicals, and right now I want to tell you about the current art show, in the Billiards Room, in collaboration with the Contemporary Center for Printmaking, (CCP) an art center right here on campus. This exhibition explores the beauty and relevance of botanical art through the medium of printmaking, in connection with the newly refurbished Conservatory at the Mansion, historically decorated by Danna Dielsi of The Silk Touch floral shop in Norwalk, CT. The art show was curated by Trustee Gail Ingis, included are renowned printmakers and members of CCP, Margot Rocklen, Betty Ball, Jane Cooper, Deidre de Waal, Sheila Fane, Sally Frank, Cynthia MacCollum, Joan Potkay, Eve Stockton and Ruth Kalla Ungerer. The works included cover a variety of techniques including: etching, monotype, intaglio, woodblock, and solarplate, to name a few.

Monotype by Deidra de Waal

Monotype by Deidra de Waal

This image by Deidra de Waal is a Monotype. Monotyping is a type of printmaking made by drawing or painting on a smooth, non-absorbent surface. The surface, or matrix, was historically a copper etching plate, but in contemporary work it can vary from zinc or glass to acrylic glass. The image is then transferred onto a sheet of paper by pressing the two together, usually using a printing press. Monotypes can also be created by inking an entire surface and then, using brushes or rags, removing ink to create a subtractive image, e.g. creating lights from a field of opaque color. The inks used may be oil based or water based. With oil-based inks, the paper may be dry, in which case the image has more contrast, or the paper may be damp, in which case the image has a ten percent greater range of tones.

j

Eve Stockton, Woodcut

Woodcut, is a relief printing technique in printmaking. An artist carves an image into the surface of a block of wood—typically with gouges—leaving the printing parts level with the surface while removing the non-printing parts. Areas that the artist cuts away carry no ink, while characters or images at surface level carry the ink to produce the print. The block is cut along the grain of the wood (unlike wood engraving where the block is cut in the end-grain). The surface is covered with ink by rolling over the surface with an ink-covered roller (brayer), leaving ink upon the flat surface but not in the non-printing areas.

Come visit to see this most unusual art show representing the twenty-first century interpretations of nineteenth-century art of botanicals. I did run into a spider, the yellow sac kind, but I thought it was Mr. Lockwood, much to my chagrin, when I looked up he was gone.

Come and visit this most amazing venue. The show will run through May 3, 2015, at the Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum, 295 West Avenue, Norwalk, CT.  203-838-9799. General Admission April 9 through May 3, 12-4 p.m.: $10 for adults, $8 for seniors, $6, 8-18.

Hurry, don’t miss it!

Have you been to this old house (mansion) where the TV show “Dark shadows” was made? Remember Joan Collins? Think you’ll find any ghosts? You might . . .

WHY PHOTOGRAPHY?

Gallery270 Michael Massaia

Gallery270 Michael Massaia

Last week my visit to Gallery270 in Englewood, NJ proved to be magical, once again. Tom Gramegna, owner of the gallery sure knows how to pick the images to interest us viewers. Today’s blog though is not about that show, you’ll have to wait until another blog time.

On the left, here’s a tease . . .

Why photography? Goes back to my own stint as a photographer for my design and architectural work, then on to experimentation in the art of photography. Working with photo images led me to full-time painting those images. My work as an artist led me to Hudson River artist, Albert Bierstadt. His brothers were into photography in 1859. They traveled to Yosemite with Albert and took many of the images that Albert painted. In those years, cameras were big and bulky and travel was less than convenient. Only way to California then was by coach, the one with horses.

Coney Island parachute jump

Coney Island parachute jump 1950′s

The 1990′s saw an explosion of the craft with digital photography. Today, everyone is a photographer with the smart phone. It’s always easy and convenient to turn the phone into a camera. No more do I have to lug along my camera, unless I have a special project that needs professional work. I still use my Nikon D200 to take photos of images to paint. Like my Coney Island project, I have photos from 1986-2013 of Coney Island before restoration and after restoration. This one is the 50′s when I played in Coney Island.

I have a heart for the venue of photography and thought I would share some pieces of history and processes.

 

Site: Half Dome, Yosemite

Site: Half Dome, Yosemite by Ansel Adams

Group f/64 was a small group of 20th-century San Francisco photographers, like Cunningham and Adams, who shared a common photographic style characterized by sharp-focused and carefully framed images seen through a particularly Western (U.S.) viewpoint. In part, they formed in opposition to the Pictorialist photographic style that had dominated much of the early 20th century, but moreover they wanted to promote a new Modernist aesthetic that was based on precisely exposed images of natural forms and found objects.

Succulent by Imogen Cunningham 1920

Succulent by Imogen Cunningham 1920

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ansel Adams

Ansel Adams

The term f/64 refers to a small aperture setting on a large format camera, which secures great depth of field, rendering a photograph evenly sharp from foreground to background. Such a small aperture sometimes implies a long exposure and therefore a selection of relatively slow moving or motionless subject matter, such as landscapes and still life, but in the typically bright California light this is less a factor in the subject matter chosen than the sheer size and clumsiness of the cameras, compared to the smaller cameras increasingly used in action and reportage photography in the 1930s.

Digital photography has come a long way since it started to catch on in the 1990s. While even your high-end smartphone may take pictures that look like crap, a real digital camera can make even the stodgiest photographer forget about film.

The Hasselblad H4D-60 is probably the most expensive digital camera in the world. This DSLR camera has an astonishing 60 megapixel 40 x 54 mm sensor. Aided by the Absolute Position Lock processor, Hasselblad’s True Focus system allows the photographer to focus on the composition without constantly fiddling with the focus. The camera has a capture rate of 1.4 seconds per capture and shutter speed ranges from an 800th of a second to 32 seconds.

This pro digital camera costs in excess of $40,000, but that price will also get you membership in the Hasselblad Owners’ Club. The exclusive club promises to hook you up with a considerable network of professional photographers to increase your exposure and expand your client base.

Do you take photographs,  and with what, camera or phone? What kind of camera? Do you have one of those $40,000 digital cameras? No kidding . . .

 

 

 

ART IN PHOTOGRAPHY

Photo by Imogen

Photo by Imogen

Creativity! Isn’t that what art is? Art comes in millions of variables. Art is everywhere, in nature, in architecture, in human creativity–in a leaf.

Last week, I visited a renowned photography gallery, Gallery270, Englewood, NJ, to view some prints by Imogen Cunningham. The gallery is owned by Tom Gramegna, who also owns Bergen County Camera, Westwood, NJ. His photography exhibitions will enrich you, and perhaps inspire you to make art, collect art, especially photo art.

Photo by Imogen

Photo by Imogen

Imogen Cunningham’s early to mid 20th century photo art is pure, no digital technology to enhance her work. All the enhancements, finishes and spatial concepts were done by her, no tricks. Pure creativity. She knew how to use her medium.

She understood the components of creativity. She knew how to divide space. She knew what would translate into beauty, what we hope for in art. Below is the brief story about this intriguing, creative woman, who, in spite of women barely being recognized professionals in her lifetime, forged ahead in her craft.

Photo by Imogene, Martha Graham (dancer)

Photo by Imogene, Martha Graham (dancer)

Imogen Cunningham (April 12, 1883 – June 23, 1976) was an American photographer known for her botanical photography, nudes, and industrial landscapes. Cunningham was a member of the California-based Group f/64, known for its dedication to the sharp-focus rendition of simple subjects.

In 1901, at the age of eighteen, Cunningham bought her first camera, a 4×5 inch view camera, via mail order from the American School of Art in Scranton, Pennsylvania. She soon lost interest and sold the camera to a friend.th-2

It wasn’t until 1906, while studying at the University of Washington in Seattle, that she was inspired to take up photography again by an encounter with the work of Gertrude Käsebier. With the help of her chemistry professor, Horace Byers, she began to study the chemistry behind photography and she subsidized her tuition by photographing plants for the botany department.

th-5Cunningham was said to take after her father: “a self-taught freethinker who didn’t confine himself to one profession,” which led Cunningham to experiment freely with cameras, photographic printing techniques and styles.

In 1907, Cunningham graduated from the University of Washington with a degree in chemistry. Her thesis was titled “Modern Processes of Photography.” She focused on a career in photography, and won a fellowship for foreign study.

Imogen

Imogen

In 1915, Cunningham married etching artist, printmaker and teacher Roi Partridge. They had three sons. The couple divorced in 1934. A granddaughter, Meg Partridge, has cataloged Cunningham’s work.

As of 1940, Cunningham lived in Oakland, California, though she had studios in various locations in San Francisco. Cunningham continued to take photographs until shortly before her death at age 93 on June 23, 1976, in San Francisco, California.

Imogen

Imogen

What form of art/creativity is your preference?  Architecture, body art, car art, crochet, dance, Disney art, fashion, floral design, embroidery, furniture, graphic design, hair art, jazz, jewelry, knitting, music, nail art, oil painting, pastels, photography, piano,  rap, sculpture, sports movements, voice, writing, watercolor painting? Did I miss your favorite? Fill it in . . .

There’s a new show going up at Gallery270 at 10 North Dean St. Englewood, NJ, tomorrow, April 2nd, 7-9 pm. 201-871-4113. Another brilliant photographer, young and with it! Michael Massaia. See you there?

 

CRAPPER HISTORY

THIS Day in History: January 30, 1863

toiletFor my historic book, Indigo Sky, in 1863, I looked up if the word ‘crap’ was used in 1863. This article came up. Wanted to share . . .

It’s almost too perfect. A man named Thomas Crapper invents the world’s first indoor one-piece flushing toilet on this day in history, and the world rejoices. The problem is, it’s not true, particularly that “first” part. Crapper was instrumental in drawing the public’s attention to the product in his London store, which was the world’s first sink, toilet and bath showroom–but his role was more as a salesman, not inventor in this case. An article in “Plumbing and Mechanical Magazine” said Crapper “should best be remembered as a merchant of plumbing products, a terrific salesman and advertising genius.”

It probably didn’t hurt that Mr. Crapper was the official plumber of a few prominent members of the royal family. For instance, he handled all the plumbing and fixtures at Sandringham house, one of the Royal residences, and received Royal warrants from Edward VII and George V.

That said, Crapper did improve the functionality of the toilet. He was a plumber himself, and invented many doo-dads that improved efficiency and sanitation, such as the ballcock, which is the float-triggered flushing mechanism in your toilet.

Primitive indoor toilets had been in existence sine Roman times, but the first “modern” flushing toilet in Britain was invented by Sir John Harington in 1596, who installed the first working prototype in the home of his godmother, Elizabeth I. Further, the first patent for a flushing water closet was issued in 1775 to a man named Alexander Cummings – sixty years before the birth of Thomas Crapper.

It’s also been commonly believed that the slang term “crap” is derived from Mr.Crapper’s name, because of the obvious association with toilet-related bodily functions.

Time to shatter another illusion: the word “crap” is of Middle English origin, and had nothing to do with poop back in the day. While the exact etymology isn’t known, it’s thought that it likely comes from the Dutch word krappen: to cut or pluck off, and the Old French word crappe: waste or junk. In English, people used the word to refer to weeds or garbage, but it had fallen out of popular usage in the UK by the time Mr. Crapper came along.

The term “crap,” meaning “refuse”, stuck around in America though, coming over pre-16th century from England.   According to the Oxford English Dictionary, it wasn’t used to mean doo-doo until 1846.

That said, “The Crapper” as a name for the toilet was partially inspired by Thomas Crapper thanks to WWI. The toilets in England at the time were predominately made by the company “Thomas Crapper & Co Ltd”, with the company’s name stamped on them.  American soldiers with their still actively used “crap” word, took to calling these toilets “The Crapper” and brought that slang term for the toilet back with them to the United States after the war.

For you history buffs, haven’t you ever wondered about how our language evolved?

Kathy Padden Daily Knowledge Newsletter

HALF DOME

Domes of Yosemite 24x36 Acrylic on Canvas Ingis Claus

Domes of Yosemite 24×36 Acrylic on Canvas Ingis Claus

 

“Indigo Sky,” is my book on the take of the life of Hudson River artist, Albert Bierstadt, his adventures journeying west to California in 1863, and his painting of Half Dome in Yosemite National Park. This image is my painting of Half Dome, an Ode to Bierstadt.

Here’s some fascinating facts about the area.

halfdomeIMG_0564Half Dome was originally called “Tis-sa-ack“, meaning Cleft Rock in the language of the local Ahwahnechee people. Tis-sa-ack is also the name of the fourth route on the formation, ascended by Royal Robbins and Don Peterson over eight days in October 1969. Tis-sa-ack is the name of a mother from a native legend. The face seen in Half Dome is supposed to be hers. Tis-sa-ack is the name of a Mono Lake Paiute Indian girl in the Yosemite Native American legend. John Muir referred to the peak as “Tissiack”.

Others say Ahwahneechee. Native Americans named Half Dome “Face of a Young Woman Stained with Tears” (“Tis-se’-yak”) because of the colonies of brown-black lichens that form dark vertical drip-like stripes along drainage tracks in the rock faces.

In 1988, Half Dome was featured on a 25 cent United States postage stamp. An image of Half Dome, along with John Muir and the California condor, appears on the California State Quarter, released in January 2005. Starting October 2010, an image of Half Dome is included on the new revised California drivers license in the top right-hand corner.

In 2014, Apple revealed their new version of their operating system, Yosemite, and Half Dome was the default wallpaper on the new OS.

Half Dome is also an element or inspiration of various company and organization logos, including that of The North Face, Sierra Designs, & Mountain Khakis outdoor product companies, the Sierra Club environmental group and the Sierra Entertainment game studio.

Have you been to Yosemite? Be careful near those bigger-than-life waterfalls. Stories have it that some have fallen in!!! And never found . . .