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Half Dome Impressions #1 - Mirror Lake, Yosemite National Park, California | by PatrickSmithPhotography
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Half Dome Impressions #1 - Mirror Lake, Yosemite National Park, California

This will be in the 2011 Nature Conservancy 2011 calendar!


Free wallpaper for over 100 of my images in 6 different screen sizes is now available!


And this photo is in the 2010 nature Conservancy calendar for November:




Here is a 30-second slice of the history of Yosemite's glacier-formed and weather eroded Half Dome. As I watched the clouds streak by, I could really imagine how this place was formed over the eons. No HDR.


See the 1200 pixel version!



Settings etc.:



Canon 5D Mark II

Canon 17-40L @ 19 (very wide to get it all into the frame)

30-second exposure @F13

Hoya ndx-400 10-stop filter - Very dark for long exposures in daylight.

2 hours before sunset when the light is still on the cliff face.

LEE soft ND grad (100x150mm) 0.9 + 0.75

Lee foundation kit filter holder with Lee 77mm adapter ring

No polarizer. I wanted reflections in the water

ISO 100 (a higher ISO to keep it at 30sec-F13 where the lens is very sharp)

RAW file processed with Capture One by Phase One

TIFF file processed with Photoshop


The clouds were moving quickly over the top of Half Dome, and the light looked good on the rock face. So I put on my dark filter to make a long exposure. Over the course of 30 seconds, the clouds moved a lot and the shadows of the clouds made for some good light across the face of the cliffs. And the moving trees and reflections softened in the reflected light from above.


This part of The Tenaya River is called Mirror Lake because is is often calm and reflective. But the wind softened the light falling on the water. The long exposure shows that soft light much better than a shorter one which would show the frozen choppy water. Sometimes a long exposure feels more realistic than a shorter one!


I do have some shots that are completely reflective when the wind calmed down. The effect is striking too.


The map shows exactly where this is. It is a 1-mile hike from the nearest road.


See my Flickr profile for a link to my newly designed website.


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Taken on June 4, 2009