Share this photo on Twitter Share this photo on Facebook

Trees at Sunset, Half Dome from Sentinel Dome

Posted by
Gary Hart (California, United States) on 29 April 2010 in Landscape & Rural and Portfolio.

In my previous blog I talked about Sentinel Dome as a sunrise location, but it’s also pretty fantastic at sunset. With views in all directions, often the biggest problem photographing from Sentinel Dome at sunset is simply deciding which way to point your lens. To the west I can watch the sun disappear beneath the horizon, with Cathedral Rocks and El Capitan in the foreground. And while shooting toward the setting sun can be a difficult exposure, success is often rewarded with brilliant color.

But concentrating too much on the sky to the west risks missing the last light on Half Dome behind me. Half Dome’s elevation above everything between it and the setting sun means it gets light long after Yosemite Valley is in full shade. So with a clear western horizon, and clouds to catch the light and reflect sunset color behind Half Dome, the view east is usually my preference.

On this summer afternoon, thunderstorms darkened the sky behind Half Dome. The western horizon was clear, so I knew the ingredients were in place for great color in the east, and that’s where I decided to focus my attention. The key to success in these situations is finding my composition before the magic begins. I wandered Sentinel Dome’s flank in search of something for my foreground, landing finally in front of these dead trees.

I made a lot of images that evening. Shortly after I captured this image the sky lit with crimson so vivid that everything from the trees, to the rocks, to the hairs on my arm buzzed with red—it was as if somebody had grabbed nature’s saturation slider and yanked it all the way to the right. I understand people’s (often justified) skepticism about “aggressive” post-processing, but it’s experiences like this sunset on Sentinel Dome that convince me most people forget how vivid color can be in nature.

* My Facebook page *

Upcoming workshops

Yosemite winter, spring, and fall; New Zealand; Grand Canyon; Death Valley; Eastern Sierra; Maui; Hawaii's Big Island; Columbia River Gorge

Other Links

* Facebook

* WordPress Blog

* Website: Eloquent Images

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

Tracy from La Selva Beach, United States

This one really sings- the texture of the trees mimics the texture of the granite, and really ties the two elements together in a wonderful way!

29 Apr 2010 5:35am

Vitor Martins from Lisboa, Portugal

Very beautiful composition with amaizing tones. The details in this one, namely in the tress, are also great.

29 Apr 2010 8:32am

Sarito from Basingstoke, United Kingdom

Absolutely beautiful.. the colours and the composition is really great..

29 Apr 2010 8:55am

Julie Brown from Indianapolis, United States

That is a view of Half Dome we don't often see! Great composition and color, Gary.

29 Apr 2010 10:15am

Florence from Paris, France

Wonderful post treatment Gary, spectacular colors and landscape. Could be perfect for a movie poster. The Return Of Indiana Jones : The Magic Mountain and The Lost Treasure.

29 Apr 2010 10:39am

Phil David Alexander Morris from Saskatoon, Canada

I hardly knew photography so beautiful existed like this. It looks like a priceless painting, the best.

29 Apr 2010 11:24am

Tamara from Aarschot, Belgium

The light and the tones are really superb !

29 Apr 2010 11:55am

Didier DE ZAN from somewhere, France

Very beautiful shot with theses beautifulwarm colors

29 Apr 2010 11:55am

Daniel from Kenmare, United States

impressive light.

29 Apr 2010 1:02pm

Barbara from Oakland, United States

This is just lovely, Gary. The lighting on the trees and the mountains between them is wonderful. I know what you mean - when the light gets perfect like this, you hardly know where to look!

29 Apr 2010 1:42pm

Shahryar from Isfahan, Iran

beautiful shot :)

29 Apr 2010 3:52pm

Marie LC from Dauphiné, France

Fantastic shot ! colours and light are splendid

29 Apr 2010 3:54pm

Stefan from Thiersee, Austria

Wow, like the intensive colors, impressive light!

29 Apr 2010 6:29pm

Sergei Z from Türi, Estonia

It is beautiful, simply beautiful!

29 Apr 2010 7:06pm

Marie from FRESNES, France

très belle lumière.

29 Apr 2010 10:29pm

Sandy Weston from Madison, Maine, United States

Great light and crazy beautiful colors hanging around for your lens! Beautiful shot!

29 Apr 2010 10:50pm

PD from Overland Park, Kansas, United States

fantastic light!

30 Apr 2010 2:31am

DarkElf from Perth, Australia

almost a fantasy like scenery - wonderful composition with radiant warm colour tones and superb level of detail all around! amazing place and photo!

30 Apr 2010 6:16am

Steve from Camdenton, United States

Nice job of wandering to find the right spot! The old trees in the foreground make for a superb composition.

3 May 2010 6:00am

Self-Indulgence from Chicagoland, United States

Beautiful as only you can capture true nature!

4 May 2010 4:04am

L'Angevine from Angers, France

j'adore la lumière et aussi l'ambiance

21 Oct 2012 12:05pm