Author: optimalfocusphotography

My name is Beth Young, and I'm a licensed architect specializing in healthcare facilities, with a strong passion for capturing the beauty of the natural world through photography. Please feel free to browse or comment. If you wish, prints are available using long lasting and high quality photographic paper or museum quality canvas using archival inks at my website: http://www.optimalfocusphotography.com/
February 5

Lack of Crowds

With an astounding 4 million visitors a year, Yosemite is the 4th most visited national park out of 58 in the park system. However, only approximately 10% of park visitors enter the park in the winter months between December and February. According to the National Park Service, 75% of Yosemite visitors arrive during the busiest six months between May and October.

Read the Post 8 Reasons to Visit Yosemite National Park in the Winter!

December 31
Milky Way and Night Clouds Over Mount Lassen, Manzanita Lake

As I look back on 2016, as cliche as I know it sounds, it was a whirlwind, busy year. I had photography trips planned out a year in advance, and many miles were spent on the road during my downtime from a full time job. After a loss in my family at the end of 2015, I did not take much time to stop and reflect, electing instead to keep pushing and keep my mind, feet, and camera occupied.

Read the Post My 16 favorite images from 2016 …and looking back on a year of paring down.

April 24
February 3
January 1
Keyhole Arch In Pfeiffer Beach in Big Sur, the sun sets directly in the middle of this natural arch at sunset, only around the winter solstice.

As I reflect on this past year, I’m amazed how much 2015 was a year of learning, growth, and so many firsts for me. I finally began making photographs as opposed to taking them. By this, I mean I diligently began researching locations, learning new techniques, and visualizing the imagery I wanted to capture for the year ahead. I also decided that photography is meaningless unless you share your knowledge and wonder with others; the photographers I respect most are the ones who are always willing to teach others and share what they know. Read the Post A Year of Learning: My Favorites of 2015

September 27

The Great Basin bristlecone pine, which grows between 9,800 and 11,000 feet above sea level, is a long-living species of tree found in the White Mountains of the Inyo National Forest in California. One member of this species, at over 5,000 years old, is the oldest known living organism on Earth. I had long wanted to capture these trees under a clear night sky, and on a recent trip to the eastern Sierra, we took the long trip from where we were camping at Lundy Lake to this remote area east of Bishop, approximately 70 miles away. Read the Post The Incredible Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest

September 27

Some folks may think my significant other, Chris, and I are crazy, but we had saved up for a quite a while for a bicycle trip in Europe, only later to decide to purchase a tear-drop camp trailer instead. We figured we’d get more lasting bang for our buck having the ability to hook up and get out of Dodge with our camera gear whenever we got the urge, and sure enough, we’ve gone on several trips already. Recently, we took a spur-of-the-moment weekend trip to one of my favorite places in the world, the eastern Sierra Nevada mountains, for a little fall color reconnaissance mission, when I began seeing the fall color reports surface on the Mono County Tourism Facebook page. Read the Post Fall Color Reconnaissance Mission

July 28
An older photo of Bonsai Rock, in Lake Tahoe, taken in February during a stormy winter sunset, revisited in black and white.

Recently, I’ve been taking some much needed downtime, with less weekends on the road for photographic outings. This is a good thing! We all need time to decompress and recharge our batteries. For me, this has also been a good time to revisit processing some photos in the “later, when I have time” pile to look at images with a fresh set of eyes. And also, intuitively this has led me to some experimentation with black and white. Read the Post Black & White

July 22

I have to admit, summer is not my favorite season for photography. For a lazy photographer like me who likes her sleep, I find the early sunrises and late sunsets challenging, as well as the harsh bright light in the middle of the day. But I love photographing sunflowers and lupine, and in Northern California, we get both! Sunflowers in Sacramento, and lupine on the shores of Lake Tahoe, both occurring in early to mid summer.

Read the Post Sunflowers & Lupine

July 13

The Shasta-Cascade region of Northern California is known for its numerous lakes, rivers, and waterfalls, and boasts visually stunning locations surrounded by water for ample photographic opportunities. I recently had the opportunity to spend the long, Fourth of July holiday weekend here to explore this wild and scenic area, and share a few of my favorite spots with you! Read the Post The Spectacular Waters of the Shasta-Cascade Region