About the Artist
Charlotte Gibb is an award-winning and renowned nature and landscape photographer based in Northern California. She is known for her mastery of "Intimate Landscapes" — small scenes derived from a large landscape.
The youngest of nine, she spent her early life playing and exploring the rural Northern California mountain area of her childhood home. Her father, an avid mountain climber and nature lover, made sure his kids shared his passion for the outdoors. After his death in a climbing accident, her mother continued to encourage an attachment to nature, ensuring that family vacations were spent outdoors camping, hiking, and exploring.
Charlotte earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. She cut her teeth in the advertising business as an art director in the 1990s, then operated her own graphic design firm in the San Francisco Bay Area for decades. Throughout her long career as an artist, her photography was constantly infused in her design work. Her darkroom has since been replaced with digital darkroom tools, and her style has evolved from a somewhat journalistic approach, to one that pays tribute to the natural world.
Charlotte writes and publishes on the subject of photography and creativity, has been a keynote speaker and educator for several national photography events, served as a judge for international and local photography competitions, and exhibits her work throughout California.
She can usually be found tromping with her camera bag in the wilderness areas around the Sierra Nevada range and Yosemite National Park in her home state.
Story Behind the Image
Entering Yosemite through the North Gate, the twisty road passes through three tunnels as it descends into the valley. Just after passing through the longest of these tunnels visitors are rewarded with their first glimpse of graceful Bridalveil Fall.
I made this photo in mid-February as I was leaving Yosemite Valley to return to my home in the San Francisco Bay Area. As always, my heart breaks a little each time I say goodbye to Yosemite, and I glance into my rearview mirror frequently as I’m driving away, allowing that feeling of complete peace linger as long as possible.
Having exited the Valley, I started the long ascent toward the North Gate. It was raining rather hard, then suddenly the sun came out as the clouds parted. I looked into the rearview mirror and saw this scene. Finding a safe place to pull over, I grabbed my gear and started composing.
Light and changing weather often requires a photographer to be quick on their feet. The rain shower had moved through the area briefly, creating this beautiful atmosphere. It lasted only moments, before the light changed again.
I named this composition "The Valley Beckons," because even as I was leaving, I was longing to return, as if Yosemite was calling me home with its beautiful light.
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