I think it is time to re-post the original to this forum.
The following was posted on wpsmb
March 18, 2009. It created quite a stir at the time.
About a month ago, photographer Tony Immoos from Sacramento got wind of views into Yosemite from the Central Valley floor, and went looking to get a picture. Below is his picture.
The picture got me pretty excited because I have driven by the grain elevator dozens of times (on Montpelier Road), and because I grew up a few miles from there.
Click on the image for full size (1.5 MB).
Tony's image and write-up is here: On The Outside Looking In
Tony also posted a four-photo composite panorama taken from the same place (Click on the image for full size 1.3 MB).
Tony's image and write-up is here: Yosemite NP and Half Dome from Denair, CA
So, with all my excitement, I emailed Wayne from this board, and with his help, created an annotated version of the panorama. I posted it on SummitPost, and people pointed out some mistakes. Then Mike C from Las Vegas posted his program-generated view. At first, I did not appreciate the significance, but I emailed him asking about his "program". It turns out he has spent hundreds of hours creating the program to process USGS data and create the most incredible simulated views. Not only that, but he can then use his view to pinpoint the geographic location of each peak in the display.
Here is his computer-generated view of the first picture:
And here is the result of all the help I got from both Wayne and Mike: (Click for full-size, 320 KB).
By the way, if you are driving on the 99, that view lines up in Turlock just south of the Monte Vista Avenue (Stanislaus State University) exit. But there are very few days when it is clear enough to see that far.
Edit 4/4/09: Yesterday I had the opportunity to stop by the camera site, to see what I could see. While it was nearly clear enough, there were clouds in the Yosemite area so I didn't see the famous view. But I was impressed with this: That picture is phenomenal! I held out my arm as far as possible, and using my thumb, tried to measure the width of the view. Note the first picture above. I could see the grain elevator and the roof of that big shed to its right. They look tiny -- the ARE a mile and a half away. And my thumb HID THE ENTIRE WIDTH OF THAT PICTURE!!! -- from grain elevator to entire width of the shed's roof.
If I could have seen Half Dome, it would have been visible through the eye of a safety pin at arm's length!
Update April 2010: Mike Condron visited the camera site and got a video
of the same scene.