Crepuscular Rays, El Capitan, Yosemite National Park

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    It has been nearly a year since I have had a new photograph to share from Yosemite, but after visiting last weekend I am finally able to do so again. It will take some time to develop and scan my film, so I am sharing a digital photograph first, for which I have no film equivalent.

    Yosemite was amazingly devoid of snow for this time of year. Snow in Yosemite creates uniquely beautiful scenery, but naturally limits accessibility to the high-country throughout the park. My wife and I decided to attempt the 4-Mile Trail hike, which climbs from the valley floor up about 3200feet to the south rim of the valley at Glacier Point. This trail is normally impassible this time of year due to snow, with Glacier Point only being accessible by cross-country skis. It was surprising to find almost no snow along this trail all the way up to Glacier Point, and great fun to climb it in February.

    Weather cooperated on the ascent, but it did begin to cloud over on the way down. We were descending quickly to get back before dark when we got our first glimpse back to west end of the valley and saw a spectacular display of crepuscular rays breaking through the clouds, casting light on the nose of El Capitan. The light changed quickly and I only managed a few quick photographs. Once the light passed we continued to make our way down to the valley floor, arriving right about sunset. Normally I'm disappointed to miss photographing the actual sunset in Yosemite Valley, but on this evening I think it was spoiled by cloud. I think the best light display of the day happened here, an hour or two before sunset, and we just happened to be in the right place to witness it.

    Nikon D90 | Nikon 50mm f /1.8 | f/9 | 1/250s | ISO200 | Tripod

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    View 11 more comments

    1. Rolandito. 65 months ago | reply

      Epic ! Ansel-Adams-like...

    2. laguglio 65 months ago | reply

      Fantastic scenery. I love the use of b/w.

    3. yanti_desiana 65 months ago | reply

      awesome light and foto

    4. 4Durt 65 months ago | reply

      Yes, epic is a good word that describs this shot!

    5. Tyler Westcott 65 months ago | reply

      Thank you for the kind feedback everyone.

    6. 65 months ago | reply

      Awesome landscape!

    7. l.gallier 65 months ago | reply

      Amen!! This is a incredible capture. Everything added up to this beautiful jackpot for you this day. B&W...excellent choice.

    8. jrobblee 65 months ago | reply

      Oh wow! What amazing light you've captured here. Gorgeous black and white photo. Love the ambience. Phenomenal shot Tyler. Love it

    9. Osamh Alshaalan - أسامة الشعلان 65 months ago | reply

      Awesome pic, i like the light rays

    10. Paul Pryor 65 months ago | reply

      Very cool shot, Tyler. Wonderful light!

    11. JONE VASAITIS 65 months ago | reply

      nice mood.. calling me to go there ;))

    12. gudgun 65 months ago | reply


    13. Terry -Pueblo Paradiso 65 months ago | reply

      Breathtaking photography my Friend...What an Awesome shot!

    14. HarisRoussos 65 months ago | reply

      Stunning Image!

    15. John Rav 64 months ago | reply

      coming along late and surprised no one has offered a


      ah well. better late then never...

    16. Karen Kaner Photography 62 months ago | reply

      stunning light & image- love the B/W

    17. t.sullivan photography 61 months ago | reply

      I missed this one (probably during my own prolonged Flickr absence) but the light in this is magical too! You have quite a talent for capturing elusive lighting. You could be the modern day Ansel Adams :)

    18. NWPhotoGuy - 59 months ago | reply

      You were lucky. Nonsense! Balderdash!

      You took a chance and made the effort to visit Yosemite where, no doubt, you hoped to find fresh snow. What you found, however, was an unusually dry year in which little snow could be found. Well, when one door closes another often opens. In this case it turned out to be the 4-Mile Trail which was now passable because it was essentially devoid of snow. Though on a Sunday, I strongly suspect that you were alone on your hike.

      Packing your camera gear up the trail (35mm and large format gear) for no guarantees, just a hope. Perhaps you found nothing remarkable on the way up and now found yourself hurrying to get off the trail before darkness set in. While many casual hikers / photographers would have their heads down to make sure that they did not trip on a root or rock, you were still acutely aware of your surroundings when this visage appeared before you. The fleeting conditions left you no time to set up the large format camera, only time to take a few quick shots with a normal lens on your 35mm.

      And what a shot. I find myself staring at this image, drinking in the emotion-laden light. Understated, perhaps, in the eyes of some who might prefer more contrast, but not for me. The soft natural light falling in waves upon the face of El Capitan does all the talking. The only slight distraction, perhaps, the light in the lower right corner. But even with that, I wouldn't change a thing. While others strive for something new from Yosemite, you have found it.

      Lucky? I don't think so. You made the effort to be there and had the equipment, vision, and skills to capture the moment. I know that I'd be proud to call it mine.

      I am an Admin for *ABW* Gallery - one of the best kept secrets on Flickr, and we would be honored to display Crepuscular Rays, El Capitan, Yosemite National Park with our collection of phenomenal photography. Please visit the *ABW* Gallery home page and you will see that your memorable image will find excellent company.

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