Successful photographers photograph in reverse. While most people will see a pretty scene and contrive a composition with little consideration of the light, a good photographer identifies the best light and crafts a composition that highlights it. I can cite this approach as responsible for many of my favorite images. And when the light's not right on a particular scene I want to photograph, I figure out when the light will be good and return then. Of course this approach applies to more than just light--clouds and the moon can also trump a scene. And sometimes you get all three.
Sentinel Dome's 360 panorama makes it a great place to be at sunset, but its high elevation makes it inaccessible by car for seven months of the year. Three springs ago I headed up Glacier Point Road shortly after it had opened, itching to get back up to Sentinel Dome. I'd timed my trip to coincide with the full moon, but when I arrived atop the dome I thought I might be shut out by afternoon clouds that had accumulated along the Sierra crest. Fortunately, as the day's heat diminished so did the clouds, allowing the moon to appear right on schedule.
While the popular view (and my usual target) from Sentinel Dome includes some combination of Cathedral Rocks, El Capitan, Yosemite Falls, Half Dome, and Nevada Fall, that evening my interest was drawn east and south, where the rising moon hung suspended between rock and cloud. With a telephoto lens I framed the scene to make the moon the focal point, using the peaks and clouds as framing elements. I underexposed slightly to eliminate distractions in the shadows and emphasize the warm sunset light skimming the peaks.
* Website: Eloquent Images
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