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"Yosemite Valley Cloudscape" ~ View of majestic Yosemite Valley from Inspiration Point near sunset. The view includes El Capitan, Half Dome, and Bridalveil Falls.

This is one of my favorite photos that I've ever taken. I took this photo of the amazing Yosemite Valley in the summer of 2008.

Visiting Yosemite is probably on the 'bucket list' of countless photographers, as it was the home base of the legendary Ansel Adams. It was indeed quite an experience to see in person the beautiful peaks, valleys, and waterfalls that were captured by the skilled eyes and hands of Ansel. His portfolio of Yosemite photos is incredible, especially considering that most of his photos were taken with medium or large format cameras with manual settings. He didn't have the luxury or convenience of automatic digital photography. Ansel couldn't take dozens or even hundreds of images and sort through them later. He could take only two or three exposures of a scene, sometimes only one. Then he would take those negatives into the darkroom and develop them with pure mastery, and with no Photoshop assistance, of course.

Ansel has several famous photos from this same viewpoint within Yosemite National Park. This viewpoint is called "Tunnel View", as it is an overlook of the valley just before a 1.5 mile stretch of Wawona Road passes through a tunnel near Turtleback Dome and Bridalveil Fall. From this viewpoint, many of Yosemite's famous features can be seen. El Capitan is on the left, Half Dome near the center along with North Dome, and of course Bridalveil Fall.

I arrived at Tunnel View about an hour or so before sunset in order to find a good spot to take photos. I moved around to several areas before settling on this viewpoint. I watched the sunlight get warmer and drape the valley in increasingly beautiful light. About 15 seconds before this exposure, I noticed a series of wispy clouds traveling through the sky, rather quickly from my right. I immediately adjusted my camera on the tripod such that I could frame the valley along with these unique clouds flying by. As soon as I got my camera adjusted, the clouds appeared in just the right spot as shown and I was able to snap this single exposure. And seconds later, the wispy, curvy cloud formations were gone. I knew immediately that I had captured something special and unique. It was a very Ansel-esque moment, where the light, the clouds, and the scenery all meshed together for one special moment, just for me and my camera.


From Canyons, Mountains & Waterfalls