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Yosemite’s Night Skies photography makes brilliant case about light pollution

WILD LANDS — A superb video with stunning images and videos of the night sky helps point out that wild lands such as national parks are rare places where people can get a great view of the stars and planets without being washed out by civilization's lights.

Enjoy this video with all its stars, moon rises, shooting stars, streaking satellites and people offering their insight on what's out there.

2011 visuals: How 60 Minutes filmed Honnold’s free-solo in Yosemite

CLIMBING — The extraordinary skill of big-wall rock climber Alex Honnold, 26, was put to the mainstream in 2011 by a CBS filming crew willing to go out of their comfort zone. 

Honnold, 26, said he is at peace thousands of feet off the ground, but how do you find cameramen who feel the same way for a a "60 Minutes" assignment to film Alex's ascent of Sentinel in Yosemite National Park?

CBS assembled a dream team of photographers and riggers, who spent two days assembling an elaborate system of ropes and pulleys so they could film the climb with 12 cameras from the valley floor to the summit.

The video above talks about the filming of the feature on this young climbing phenom.

Watch Lara Logan's full "60 Minutes" report on Alex Honnold here.

Video: Kayakers work hard for their whitewater

High Sierra Safety (a full length film) from 7 Finger media on Vimeo.

PADDLING — This nifty video is a nicely filmed, beautifully thought out how-to story about kayakers hiking into one world's most famous Class 5 overnighters.

The group is up for running Upper Cherry Creek near Yosemite National Park, a trip that requires an 11-mile hike with their kayaks before they could put in.

You're likely to learn something by watching this full-length video (above).

Here's a short vignette of the paddling.

Unusually powerful rivers claim lives across the West

OUTDOOR HAZARDS — The deaths of three young tourists who were swept over a 317-foot waterfall last week in Yosemite National Park serve as a reminder of the deadly and alluring beauty of the raging rivers and streams across the West after a record winter snowfall.

States compiling sobering statistics are reporting an increase in water-related deaths, some of which they blame on the surge in river flows.

Around a dozen people have drown in Washington, including a kayaker near Kittitas, a woman rafter on the Wenatchee River— both wearing appropriate gear and PFDs — and a teenage girl who capsized a canoe with her brother on the Kettle River. He was wearing a PFD and survived. The girl was not wearing a PFD. 

In Montana, at least 10 people have drowned so far this year and another man is missing and presumed drowned after trying to retrieve an oar that fell out of his raft. Only three people drowned in 2010, and Montana officials are warning that the difference is the volume of fast and cold water from the melting snowpack and spring rains.

In Utah, at least 11 people have drowned since April, many of them swept away in fast-flowing rivers swollen by melting snowpack.

In Colorado, five people have died after being swept into Colorado’s raging rivers and creeks.

In Wyoming, at least half a dozen people have died this summer in rivers.