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Yosemite in Winter, here I come.

My 1st visit to Yosemite after my new found passion for photography was in Feb ’08.  On a busy Super Bowl weekend, where I went to a retreat at Mt. Hermon, visited a friend in El Dorado Hills to watch the game and left the next morning about 4 AM for Yosemite.  It had recently snowed and I knew that the park would be flocked in snow. I had heard from many that this is a magical time for Yosemite.  That would be an understatement.

I was able to get to the park early enough to explore a variety of scenes in early morning light and after sunrise.  I circulated the park a few times throughout the day and ended up at Tunnel View just before sunset. Now the truth is I was looking for Valley View, or Gates of the Valley as it’s sometimes called.  I missed the turn & picked Tunnel View.

It was getting pretty cold and the parking lot was covered with a layer of ice, which sucked the heat out of my feet.  There were probably a dozen other photographers there including some guy with a 4×5.  As we waited for the sunset, occurring behind us, the flank of El Capitan began to take on a golden hue. The guy with the 4×5 wasn’t’ that impressed and probably only took 2 or 3 images.  The rest of us were spell bound as the colors deepened, the mist was rising from the valley floor & the snow flocked trees create quite the memorable scene.  I probably took 50 shots from beginning of the sunset colors till the sun was long gone. After getting the exposure nailed, I switched from Av to Manual and “chased” the exposure by increasing shutter speed as the light waned. I was the last one to leave the parking lot.  My feet were frozen and took an hour to thaw.  I wasn’t sure if I had anything of value from those shots as I hadn’t reviewed many.  It wasn’t til I stopped on the way back at a restaurant and went over them.  It was truly a magical series of scenes.

Here are a few from that trip.

Tunnel View at Sunset

Alpen Glow, a few moments after sunset

I have returned to Yosemite 2 or 3 times a year since, but have never quite captured it anywhere near as impressive.  The only real flaw in the composition was that Half Dome was shrouded from view.


About Dan Swiger Photpgraphy

Enthusiastic Amateur Photographer Landscapes, child photography & events


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