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On The Outside Looking In | by Tony Immoos
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On The Outside Looking In

A long range look into Yosemite National Park with a view of Half Dome, 67 miles away.


I took a quick look at yesterday (19feb09), and noticed an interesting entry about the possibility of seeing Half Dome, in Yosemite NP, from Patterson, CA. 90 miles away.


Always up for a challenge, I briefly played with Google Earth to see if maybe Half Dome could be seen from the San Joaquin Valley, I decided it could and was in the car and headed south from Sacramento soon after to attempt a few photographs. My destination would be Turlock, about 20 miles closer than Patterson as described at YB.


The mountains surrounding Lake Tahoe quickly faded from view as I drove down Hwy 99 S, leaving very few high mountains visible. Looking at my map I saw that the freeway would do a left turn at Manteca and start getting closer to the High Sierra again. After leaving the Modesto Area, I could clearly see the snow capped High Sierra region in the Yosemite area. Approaching Turlock, Hwy 99 rises up at the Taylor Road interchange giving me an unobstructed view of the Sierras, taking a quick glance to my left, my eyes were instantly drawn to a familiar shape. There it was... Half Dome. 75 miles away, and it was very easily seen with the unaided eye.


My next task was to find a suitable place where I could park and set up my tripod for the long lenses. I took a few images hand-held out the window of the car when I could and after a little while I found the perfect spot, Hall Road, .65 mile south of E. Keyes Rd. About 3.5 miles east of Denair, CA. and about 67.25 miles from Half Dome and in this image, shot at 400mm, the grain elevator is about 1.5 miles away. I took many other images with my Sigma 135-400mm and Tamron 500mm mirror lens. On an Olympus DSLR that equates to a 270-800mm and 1000mm field of view compared to a 35mm SLR. This was the one that had the best focus of all the ones I looked at.


Other Yosemite landmarks in this view are, the upper portion of El Capitan, stretching from the grain elevator, right up to the face of Half Dome. Sentinel Dome is to the right of HD near the right edge and I beleive that's Clouds Rest above left of the grain elevator. I'm sure many other peaks can be identified but I not familiar with the YNP back country and I wasn't able to ID any using GE. Also in view in the largest version is "The Diving Board". From this Ansel Adams took the photograph, "Monolith: The Face of Half Dome". It's directly above the right arm of the telephone pole with the most stuff on it.


I guess the next best thing would be to try and catch a Moon-rise above all of this.


The Big YZ now has some images on her stream, not with the kind of equipment that I used but good enough to see half dome. She also has a couple wide shots which I didn't think of taking till after I got home, they give a little better perspective of the area in question.


Self-guiding Auto Tour of Yosemite National Park. Wrote in 1956, of particular interest concerning Half Dome, read V-19.


Explore on Wednesday, February 25, 2009 #20.


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Photo of the day, Feb. 20 '09 at


(your welcome Bee :-) )


***26june09 Please check out the map showing the area where the top of Half Dome is visible.***


This image is now part of a roadside display in Yosemite NP along Tioga Road.

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Taken on February 19, 2009