Living in Yosemite means I have to work. I am employed in an hourly job that is not as glamorous as my social media might let on and I only really post about things that happen in my free time. Posting about work on my Instagram and Facebook would not be entirely professional, nor would it receive positive feedback from my community. Yosemite is an amazing place to live, but there are many sacrifices I have to make in order to live here. All of the sacrifices are worth it to me, but the most difficult part of living in Yosemite - where most of the work is seasonal - is watching my friends leave when they finish their season of work.
A while ago I had to watch Grant, one of my close friends in Yosemite, leave the park. As chance would have it, we met before we even arrived for our first days of work in Yosemite and later formed a close friendship. We both had year-round positions and had accumulated enough seniority to stick around the park all year long if we wanted, but for him, it became time to move on to the next chapter. I was happy for him to be giving another place a shot, but sad to watch a significant part of my more permanent community leave.
I took the opportunity to document the event of his leaving Yosemite with my newly acquired medium format film camera. Several members of our group of friends were there to send Grant, and another friend, Katie, off to Alaska. They decided to make their journey to their next employment a grand road trip through Oregon, Washington, Canada and eventually their destination in Alaska - and I wanted to capture the beginning of it in black and white film. I picked up a roll of Kodak Tri-X 400 black and white film from the Ansel Adams Gallery, just a minute walk from my cabin, and loaded it into my old Pentax 6x7. (Yup. It's pretty cool to be able to walk to the Ansel Adams prints whenever I want to.) I chose black and white over color because I wanted the photos to feel more timeless, and Tri-X 400 was the only medium format black and white film the Ansel Adams gallery had on hand. I loved the final results.
The whole experience was a bit surreal for me. It definitely helped me come to better terms with just how temporary things tend to be in seasonal employment. It's a strange thing for me to live relatively permanently while most others come and go - stressful even. Frequently, I ask myself why I put up with the regularity of this occurrence, but when I do, I remember that I know Yosemite is my place right now. I can continue to cultivate healthy friendships in spite of people coming and going - it just might mean that I approach this differently. I don't entirely know what that looks like for me yet, but I am confident that I can.