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El Capitan on Fire - Valley View, Yosemite Park, California, USA | by Rich Capture
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El Capitan on Fire - Valley View, Yosemite Park, California, USA

El Capitan on Ice


This shot is from a recent trip that Jave and I put together to Yosemite.


The hard thing about places like Yosemite is that there are so many places to shoot and only one sunrise and sunset a day. So, you have to make priorities early and try to stick with them as best as you can. You choice your favorite spots for sunrise and sunset and if you are lucky and get a fairly overcast day like we did, you spend the rest of the day driving around to the waterfalls, bridges, and streams taking shots that don't nessesarily need the golden light of sunset and sunrise, because you get great color and contrast from the snow and the foliage in the shade.


The second thing about places that are as popular as this is that you are going to get a lot, and I mean a lot of people trying to shoot these iconic scenes during those two hours of the day. So, you have to be there really early and make your claim on your spot and sit and wait. Lucky, if you travel with the temporally challenged like myself and my crew, you end up believing that sunrise is at 6:20am and not the actual time of 7:20am, so you show up with plenty of time to spare while most people are just hitting their snooze buttons on the alarm clock. But that is a story for another image.


This image was taken at sunset on Thursday after a day of scouting out the area and getting to know the terrain. We showed up at this spot at about 2pm, just as a Greyhound Bus full of Japanese tourist pulled in before us. I thought we were screwed for sure. But after some chants and yelling that seemed like it belong on a T.V. variety show, that group of misfits were back on the bus and off to their next slash and burn photo fest of point and shoot madness. It was a relief to say the least.


The best part about this shot is that if I would not have stuck to my standard routine of staying at a spot until it is pitch dark, we all would have missed this shot. We had been told prior to coming to Yosemite that because the sun sets behind you and you are in a valley that you should start shooting at around 3pm for the best even light. Not having shot here in more then 4 years and trusting the advice giver, that is what we did. And we got some really nice shots. Even a couple of panos and such. So, when it was around 4:45pm Jave shouts at me from his shooting location. "I'm done, you ready to go?" And I shout back at him, "Dude, I can still see the answer is No." I knew everyone was tired and hungry, because we had meet at 6am that morning to head up here to Yosemite and the only food we had eaten since we left were some sorry ass sandwiches from the jank ass deli in Yosemite Park that tasted like cardboard. If the bread on those sandwiches was any fresher then a week old, it would have been a miracle, but I digress. After a bit of back and forth, Jave decided that since I had the keys to my car (our transportation) that he would humor me for another 30 minutes of shooting before pushing me all the way into the stream that I was standing in and taking my keys. So, thankfully, due to Jave's patience and will power, we were rewarded with this beautiful light, which only last all of about 4-5 minutes. And then it faded away. I managed to get this shot and a Pano in that short time. It was to be the only colorful light of our day and half trip. As the next morning revealed very nice even light at sunrise, but nothing with any color. So we drove around under overcast skies, took a few shots of some meadows and a water fall, and took an early leave. It would be snowing Friday evening for sunset and we were all dying for some real food. But we got our year pass and we will be returning to try to catch some more of that awesome colorful light that showed up for a brief 5 minutes on this wonderful winter even.


Tune in for some of our more colorful stories dealing with Thursday nights sleep over and JimmyJamesJizzumJammyJimbobJasumJoJo's cot experience and a snoring bear. In the mean time.........


Flickrites in attendence





And myself :-)


Enjoy :-)


Canon 5D Mark II

Exposure: 30sec

Aperture: f/16.0

Focal Length: 16 mm

ISO Speed: 50 (to get as even an exposure as possible)

Lens: Canon EF16-35mm f2.8L II

Tripod Gitzo 2531

Head Arca Swiss B1


1)Standard B+W UV that never leave my lens

2) Hi-Tech 1.2 Solid ND

3) Lee .6 & .9 soft edge ND grads (slightly staggered)


Thank you to all who stopped by to look at my other photos and comment and favorite them. It is much appreciated.

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Taken on January 28, 2010