Winter Moon, Clouds, and Granite. Yosemite Valley, California. February 23, 2013. © Copyright 2013 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.
Winter moon rises through post-storm clouds above Yosemite Valley, California
On this winter evening, photographing the “usual subjects” in Yosemite Valley was not easy. This was the weekend of the Horsetail Falls pilgrimage, and hundreds or perhaps thousands of people were lined up with cameras in hopes of making their photograph of this thing/event – but for most this was not to be as the water fall was almost dried up and clouds blocked the sunset light. It had been a cloudy day, starting out with rain and staying that way for a good part of the day, with even a bit of light snow at times. As evening approached it looked like the cloud deck was going to remain thick and low and that it would likely be a gray evening.
With it looking like the potential for inspiring light was quite low, we went to Tunnel View – it seemed as good as any other option, it can be an inspiring place even when it doesn’t provide inspiring photographic opportunities, and I was with someone who had not really tried to photograph there. When we arrived there was some clearing, though the clouds seemed to remain thick to the west, meaning the no brilliant light was likely to be seen. I put a long lens on my camera and worked the upper rim of the Valley to my right, about 90 degrees away from the direction most were shooting, but where fog and mist drifted across the rim, granite pinnacles and cliffs, and among trees. As I watched this I noticed the nearly full moon occasionally poke out from behind clouds above Sentinel Rocks as the clouds and mist drifted this way and that. Since it was that early twilight time when a good exposure for the light of the moon can also work for other subjects such as clouds, sky, and mountains, I swung the camera around and watched the drifting clouds, waiting or moments when the took on interesting shapes and when the moon was visible.
G Dan Mitchell is a California photographer and visual opportunist 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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Text, photographs, and other media are © Copyright G Dan Mitchell (or others when indicated) and are not in the public domain and may not be used on websites, blogs, or in other media without advance permission from G Dan Mitchell.