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Half Dome Half Moon, Yosemite

Posted by
Gary Hart (California, United States) on 1 January 2010 in Landscape & Rural and Portfolio.

Happy New Year everybody!

In my previous post I shared an image from a glorious clearing storm over Yosemite Valley. I mentioned that we had an entire workshop of winter magic--here's another one from later that weekend.

Mirror Lake is a popular spring and early summer destination for photographers and tourists alike. But by late summer the lake is dry and the crowds dwindle. Water or not, the hike to Mirror Lake is worthwhile for its unique view of Half Dome. It's the closest non-climbers can get to Half Dome, providing an extreme wide-angle perspective from right beneath this magnificent monolith. In fact, the entire walk to Half Dome offers great views framed by trees and rocks. And Tenaya Creek, when it's running, is a constant (and welcome) distraction.

On that afternoon the entire world was dipped in white, and an approaching storm issued wildly swirling clouds across and above Half Dome's face. Occasionally a break in the clouds reveal a delicate half moon juxtaposed against Half Dome's towering outline. Eye's skyward I moved along the trail until I found a composition I liked. I fixed it on my tripod, made my exposure and focus settings, and waited. With everything ready I just stood and watched the show, crossing my fingers for a gap in the clouds to frame the moon before the encroaching weather completely obscured the scene. Patches of blue came and went, scurrying across the sky with frivolous urgency, but not quite in the right place. When my opportunity finally arrived I was able to fire off a couple of shots before the moon disappeared. Soon the sky vanished completely behind clouds gray as granite, and minutes after that the gray ceiling lowered and erased Half Dome entirely. I never did make it to Mirror Lake.

Sometimes we're so focused on the destination that we forget to enjoy the journey (there's metaphor there). As photographers we need to remain aware of the world around us at all times. That doesn't mean you should search for "shots" every conscious minute, but do try to stay in touch with and respond to how the environment touches you emotionally. There's never a time when it's not appropriate to marvel at the moment, and successful photography is largely a function of our ability to convey our marvel.

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Thanks for visiting. Even if I don't respond, your comments are always read and appreciated.

zahra from shiraz, Iran

great,very nice.

1 Jan 2010 7:27am

Marie LC from Voiron, France

Great great shot. Happy new year for you and your family

1 Jan 2010 9:30am

Tamara from Aarschot, Belgium

Beautiful shot Gary, as usual ;) Happy 2010 !!!

1 Jan 2010 9:54am

Piia from Helsinki, Finland

Great shot.. Happy new year to you!

1 Jan 2010 10:43am

john4jack from Corvallis, Oregon, United States

Stunning, Gary. What a fabulous way to begin 2010! (Even when I don't have a camera in hand, photograph has radically shaped the way that I take in the world around me. I see the world and experience the world with a deeper sensitivity.)

1 Jan 2010 4:03pm

@john4jack: Thanks, Jack. And I completely understand when you say photography has affected the way you view the world. I'm constantly and often unconsciously seeing relationships between objects (for example).

Judy from Brooksville, Florida, United States

A most unusual and beautiful shot of Half Dome, the iconic Yosemite Princess!
Happy New Year.

1 Jan 2010 5:37pm

Barbara from Oakland, United States

Just gorgeous, Gary! I love powdered sugar coating of snow on the rocks - it really brings out the textures. Happy new year!

1 Jan 2010 6:27pm

Self-Indulgence from Chicagoland, United States

You've really captured this size of this monolith and it is quite impressive. The detail on the rock wall is well captured stirring the 'rock hound' in me. I see layers, cleavage and time's erosion. The clouds just reiterate the scale of things. Well captured!

1 Jan 2010 8:25pm

@Self-Indulgence: Thanks, Kristen. Regarding the detail, one of the unexpected reactions I received when I started displaying this at shows was from rock climbers--apparently it shows very clearly the primary climbing route up Half Dome's face.

Tracy from La Selva Beach, United States

I love the connection between half dome and the half moon, Gary! I think that it's these type of connections that come from the heart and soul of each photographer are what make the most stunning photographs!

1 Jan 2010 8:53pm

@Tracy: Thanks, Tracy. Most photographers would benefit by shooting more from the heart and soul.

Meysam from Montreal, Canada

Wow! This shot is breath taking! I also enjoyed reading "Sometimes we're so focused on the destination that we forget to enjoy the journey."

1 Jan 2010 8:58pm

@Meysam: I think that would apply in life as well. Thank you for your kind words.

Lambspun from Madison, Maine, United States

You are so right with your last sentence! "There's never a time when it's not appropriate to marvel at the moment, and successful photography is largely a function of our ability to convey our marvel." My love of photography grew from the fact that I wanted to share what I saw and what people weren't seeing.....and people like yourself have helped me fine tune my skills....thank you so much!

2 Jan 2010 1:20am

@Lambspun: Thanks, Lambspun. It's always nice to know my words are appreciated. Happy New Year!

Vitor Martins from Lisboa, Portugal

This is a superbe image. The light, tone, and textures of the rock are great.

2 Jan 2010 4:24pm

Julie from Easton, United States

What a stunning photoblog you have! It is photographers like yourself that I find to be a true inspiration to become a better one myself! Thanks so much for you time and effort put into your photography and your guidance!

3 Jan 2010 2:14am

@Julie: Thanks, Julie.

Dulcie from Danville, CA, United States

Somehow this seems a lovely dreamy quality to Half Dome, here. Wonderful color---as usual !! ;-)

3 Jan 2010 7:56am

Betsy Barron from Chester Springs, PA, United States

great imagery - you've balanced all the elements perfectly

4 Jan 2010 6:24pm

Didier DE ZAN from somewhere, France

Great shot

5 Jan 2010 5:48am

DarkElf from Perth, Australia

amazing photo! i like your angle and composition here - looking at it one really gets the idea of the height and size of this rocky wall! the mood is brilliant as well - the wispy clouds and half moon complete the shot perfectly!

6 Jan 2010 3:53am