Midnight Sky over Half Dome, Yosemite National Park

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    On our second evening in Yosemite National Park, after shooting sunset at Glacier Point we headed back to our accommodations to wait a couple hours for the dark night skies to take over. Our plan had been to return to Glacier Point to shoot the Milky Way, but we made a stop (that became rather lengthy) at nearby Washburn Point along the way, and ended up spending most of our time there.

    While I spent most of my time working on improving my shorter exposures (attempting to prevent stars forming trails, as I did at Mono Lake) I decided to ensure I had at least one good low ISO long exposure as well. This one long exposure turned out to be my favorite of the evening.

    One thing I particularly like to see with long exposures is a combination of movements in different directions. In this case I was pleased to see the low bank of clouds moving across the frame over Half Dome (resolutely fixed in place), while the star trails cut through the scene at an angle. Despite the long exposure I was also happy to see that the gaseous clouds of the Milky Way still show up within the brighter star trails.

    Despite this being nearly 7 minutes of exposure time at f/2.8, there still wasn't a great deal of light captured off of Half Dome and I had to bring up the levels with a curves adjustment. I also cropped the image (including some great star trails at the top) to bring the aspect ratio to 4x5, which I find I prefer more and more for vertically-oriented photos (though it pains me to cut off great star trails at the top).

    Yosemite is a spectacular place to take in a clear night sky - something that's getting harder and harder to find. While I love to shoot the park at night under moonlight, it was really a treat to see such clear bright views of the starry night sky. (you wouldn't believe how many stars are up there!)

    Nikon D90 | Nikon 35mm f/2.0 | f/2.8 | 418s | ISO200 | Tripod

    Jim Patterson Photography, and 113 other people added this photo to their favorites.

    View 20 more comments

    1. Jonathan Ryder Photography 66 months ago | reply

      A truly extraordinary shot (interesting point about the 4x5 as well, by the way - I agree)

      Via yesterday's Explore at #9 on Fluidr

    2. joehall45 66 months ago | reply

      most excellent imagery!

    3. jatoori 66 months ago | reply

      woowww 1 imagen esplendida,enhorabuena....

    4. Soleil is me. 66 months ago | reply

      BRAVO!; Greeting from Bangkok. Your image is so beautiful artwork from camera and I love it:)


      INSPIRE Invite ONLY
      You are INVITED to display this wonderful photo
      in the INSPIRE Pool
      Be happy Be healthy:)

    5. 4ced2think 66 months ago | reply

      Glorious capture! I hope you don't mind if I add it to my gallery "Mauve Skies II"

    6. t.sullivan photography 66 months ago | reply

      This is awesome Tyler! It looks like it's raining stars!

    7. Rob Kroenert 66 months ago | reply

      Tyler - thought I already commented on this one... I mean, wow - this is outstanding! The star trails are awesome and that layer of low clouds pushes it over the top.

    8. Pater JPM 65 months ago | reply

      whoa! crazy good shot.

    9. Chris O'Brien - Ellipsis-Imagery 65 months ago | reply

      Wonderful shot, I do really like how the clouds block part of the trails.

    10. Ar'alani 65 months ago | reply

      Dear god, Tyler. This is one of the most beautiful images I have ever seen. Seriously.

    11. midendian 65 months ago | reply

      Absolutely amazing. Love the sharp cutoff of the stars with the clouds.

    12. FarshadPix 65 months ago | reply

      wonderful star trails

      Seen in my contacts' photos. (?)

    13. Darvin Atkeson 65 months ago | reply

      Now that is impressive. I love the blend of clouds and star streaks. Nicely done.


    14. Chip Shotz 64 months ago | reply

      Exceptional exposure.

    15. areacode 63 months ago | reply

      This is unreal. Such an amazing shot. I would love to have this hanging on my wall.

    16. augustnyne 62 months ago | reply

      Amazing shot, I think the clouds really make it!!

    17. Luke_23 62 months ago | reply

      Incredible, I love the way it's cut into sections

    18. AndWhyNot 44 months ago | reply

      Interesting how the star trails continue below the cloudline

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