Half Dome, Dusk. Yosemite National Park, California. September 16, 2012. © Copyright 2012 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.
Half Dome and lone tree at dusk, from Olmsted Point, Yosemite National Park.
Last week I was making the long drive back over the Tioga Pass Road from the “east side” following a short pack trip up into McGee Canyon. After catching an early dinner in Mammoth, I headed north and then up over the pass, crossing into Yosemite about an hour before sunset. I figured that this would give me one more chance to do a quick bit of photography before calling it quits and focusing on the drive back to the Bay Area. Since I had spent some time earlier in the week shooting in the Dana Fork meadows and in Tuolumne Meadows itself, I decided to continue on and just see where I might end up a half hour or so before sunset.
It turns out that the “where” ended up being Olmsted Point – not exactly an original place to shoot, but what the heck! In the back of my mind, of course, was the possibility of shooting the classic “back side” view of Half Dome if the evening light proved interesting enough. So one of the first things I did was scope out the precise spot where I wanted to shoot that subject a bit later. Then I turned my attention elsewhere. It turns out that there are quite a few other interesting things to photograph here: the trees across the road on the large glaciated dome, the trees below the parking area, sparse trees growing along ridge tops all around, side light from the setting sun, and much more. So while waiting to see how that Half Dome thing might develop, I shot a bunch of other subjects, all the while watching the evolving light down towards The Valley. At first it didn’t seem all that interesting. The light was a bit flat, perhaps due to cloud cover to the west, and the potentially interesting overhead clouds had a bit of a strange color cast. However, I suspected that after the sun set that there might be some interesting glow on the face from the west, and that the clouds still might pick up some interesting color. And, in fact, this photograph was made when the sun was no longer shining directly on Half Dome – instead it was illuminated to that “after glow” of the sunset as the very last sun began to color the streaming clouds beyond.
G Dan Mitchell is a California photographer whose subjects include the Pacific coast, redwood forests, central California oak/grasslands, the Sierra Nevada, California deserts, urban landscapes, night photography, and more.
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