Tunnel View, Yosemite National Park
Tunnel View, the classic view of the Yosemite Valley, with the sheer cliffs of El Capitan at left and the distinctive profile of Half Dome in the middle distance.
The peaks of Yosemite consist of a coarse-grained granite which forms part of the batholith of the Sierra Nevada mountain range. The rocks were formed deep underground in 'plutons' of molten magma during volcanic processes, then lifted to the surface by subsequent earth movements. The U-shaped valley was gouged out by glaciers during the Sherwin glacial period, around a million years ago. Glaciation also smoothed and rounded the peaks and the plucking action of the ice formed the steep, vertical cliffs.
The valley floor is carpeted with native trees including Incense Cedar (Calocedrus decurrens), Ponderosa Pine (Pinus ponderosa) and Black Oak (Quercus velutina).
(This is a high-resolution scan from a 35mm original in my pre-digital archive).