2023 Yosemite in Winter
Though I like to believe that all moments in life are worthwhile and interesting in their own ways, there's little doubt that there are some experiences in life that are truly special. These are the moments in our lives when we feel a boundless gratitude, awe and love for life, when we relinquish the steely grip of the self, when the past and future seem to coalesce into the present.
This is what psychologist Abraham Maslow, best known for his hierarchy of needs, described as a "peak experience". Maslow characterized peak experiences as the "moments of highest happiness and fulfillment," in people's lives and as "rare, exciting, oceanic, deeply moving, exhilarating, elevating experiences that generate an advanced form of perceiving reality, and are even mystic and magical in their effect". The key word is rare - as these experiences are elevated not only by the feelings and sensations one experiences, but more importantly by the contrast between the average waking moment and the peak experience itself. Although the idea of feeling euphoric, boundless and deeply moved at all times sounds tempting, it would ultimately make it impossible to navigate a world that requires so much of us.
I have only had a handful of peak experiences in my life. The common thread among them is that they have all been in nature, basking in the beauty of trees, rocks, skies, and water. Thankfully for most of them, I've also had my camera. It's through my camera that I aim to express these moments, even if they can only communicate a small, 2 dimensional representation of a wholly lived experience.
On a trip in January 2023 to Yosemite, the elements aligned to grace me with one of the most beautiful, awe inspiring and serene days of my life. It did not feel like a dream, but rather alive in the deepest way possible. My eyes widened to the world in a vain attempt to experience it all. During these moments, I knew what I was experiencing - I could recognize the absurdity and beauty of the present and how lucky I was to be in the here, now.
The images below were taken during this 3 day trip to Yosemite. The first day was rainy and dark, but full of hope that the next day would be more interesting, photographically. Most of the images were taken on that second day, when the beauty of Yosemite was on full display. A final morning filled with heavy snow and low visibility ended the trip on a high note.
Thank you for reading and for looking at these images. I hope you enjoy them!