December 15, 2011

COARSEGOLD (California)

Copyright May Rogers 2011.
All rights reserved.
Photos shot using Sony DSLR

Find MM.Rogers Photography on Twitter

My trip to Yosemite started and ended at Chukchansi Gold Resort and Casino. We stayed there for three days and although I smelled of cigarette the whole time, it was another beautiful experience ticked off my ONLY-BEAUTIFUL-EXPERIENCE LIST. This hotel is without a doubt the best in Coarsegold, a small town approximately an hour away from Yosemite National Park

Coarsegold sounds rich having derived its name from historical California Gold Rush. However, the area is not very much a travel destination aside from the casino and of course, Yosemite. One significant stop one should make though is at Coarsegold Historic Village located on Highway 41 between Fresno and Yosemite. 

*photos were taken on a rainy day

Very hard to miss - the giant tarantulas on rooftops - WHERE???! Around, as a matter of fact. I consulted wikipedia and it says "every year from mid-October to mid-November, tarantula mating season takes place and the town is full of tarantulas".
I do not see the connection between these two but then again, I'm not from around here.

A wooden carving mock up of The Lady Liberty. Small town Oakhurst is popular for hand-carved arts, signs and statues.

A real tee pee at Coarsegold Historic Village

My very first tee pee visit. This is what's inside.


December 8, 2011

Madera Wine Country

Copyright May Rogers 2011.
All rights reserved.

Find MM.Rogers Photography on Twitter 

On our way back from the gorgeous Yosemite, we couldn't resist stopping by and getting a taste of what Madera is about - wine and nuts. Passing through Route 99 constitutes a rather uneventful yet engaging drive along thousands of acres of pistachio, cotton and grape growing farms located on east central California. And just like in any other wine country, you can never say no to tasting and buying wine. I'm not really a wine person so don't be surprised that this marks my very first real wine-tasting time.

Here are some photos from CRU WINE TASTING ROOM. Visit the website.

Valley Pistachio sells the best HONEY ROASTED ALMONDS EVER!!

November 8, 2011

Yosemite National Park

Copyright May Rogers 2011.
All rights reserved.
Photos shot using Sony DSLR

Find MM.Rogers Photography on Twitter.

Four-hour drive from San Jose to east central California, passing by wine countries and pistascio nut groves before the majestic nature of Yosemite Valley reveals itself before your very eyes. Visiting in November, I expected colorful fall foliage and seasons transition but instead I was greeted by breathtaking snow flurries and welcoming scent of pine trees.

Tunnel View provides the amazing view of Yosemite Valley including all the big names - El Capitan, Half Dome, Sentinel Dome, Cathedral Rocks and Bridalveil Falls. Right here is a visitor's favorite photo spot.

Half Dome is the most distinctive monument on Yosemite, can be seen from all points of the valley. Since Glacier Point is closed on snowy days, the best view is from Tunnel View.

Bridalveil Falls and Cathedral Rocks.
Bridalveil Falls is year-round waterfall flowing freely with occasional crashing blow more powerful as you approach it. The hike to the falls takes 10-15 minutes passing by a small flowing stream. El Capitan (below) is a massive granite monolith that stands 3,593 feet considered to be the El Dorado of rock climbers all over the world.

Mariposa Grove protects many giant sequoias and fir trees.
The noble giant sequoia with its massive trunk rising skyward, it can live for over two thousand years with trunks that can reach over 25 feet thick.
me in Yosemite

The gorgeous Awahnee Hotel opened in 1927.


October 6, 2011

History San Jose (California)

Copyright May Rogers 2011.
All rights reserved.
Photos shot using Sony DSLR

Find MM.Rogers Photography on Twitter.

Situated on Senter Road, History San Jose is a little town of preserved developments and restored landmarks, homes and changes that took place in San Jose dating back 1800s. Fenced in wires and iron gates, this quaint community of centuries-old houses, hotels, schools, museums, bank, church and store will give visitors a glimpse of the 'old life'. Walk into one of the Victorian houses and see what 1800s furniture, workroom, kitchen, guest room and even a baby room look like while listening to warm true stories offered by a family member who once lived in the very house.

Ranked as number 8 must-see attraction in San Jose by Tripadvisor (out of 56), a visit to History Park costs about $11 for a century-worth of historical information.

Jim Gard is a very friendly volunteer at the old printing press house at History San Jose. See more of Jim and how the 10 x 15 Liberty Press works. See youtube video by KTEHTV.

V-J Day in Times Square replica


September 28, 2011

Alcatraz (The Rock)

Copyright May Rogers 2011.
All rights reserved.
Photos shot using Sony DSLR

Find MM.Rogers Photography on Twitter.

Alcatraz (from the word alcatraces or seabirds) is an island in San Francisco Bay popularly known from early 1930s as one of the world's high-tech penitentiary that housed some of the most famous inmates in the United States. Presently, 'The Rock' serves as a tourist hot spot bringing more than a million tourists and travelers to the island every year.

The self-guided tour took more than 2 hours with audio tour available within the main cells, stories told by former inmates and officers of Alcatraz.

The day in San Francisco was very foggy, cold and windy. Not the very best time to take photos. Most of the photos I took are blurry and dark and without the proper protection gear, my lens was constantly exposed to moisture.

Although many boats can take you to the Alcatraz island for $15, only Alcatraz Cruises is allowed to make stop at Alcatraz. There are early bird, day and night tours for $26 per person. Board the nice white vessel at Pier 33 at Bay Street. They also offer to souvenir photos for $22 (2 pcs 5x7).
The 1910 Social Hall. Destroyed by fire in 1970, it served as what it was - a social hall - to many employees, prison officers and their families living on the island.
First Winter Western Gull. The basic I stage of Western Gull of the Pacific Coast. These birds are cute, they do not shy away from where people are in the hopes of finding food. According to, the First Winter (Basic I) is like juvenal plumage, but head, throat, and breast lighter and more streaked. Bill black with pale base, eyes dark brown.
The cells along 'Broadway'

Taken from the control room using a telephoto lens on a foggy day

Inside the main cell house with audio tours
Photo tip: Wide lens will do wonders inside the cell house, use telephoto lens outside
Chambray Alcatraz Prison Uniform

Michigan Avenue is a cell block just like "Broadway" where some of the racial minority inmates lived.
The garden cared by volunteers
The Alcatraz Lighthouse was the first on the Pacific Coast and has been in operation since 1854.