Photo Of The Day – El Capitan With Stars And Clouds Under Moonlight

 Title: El Capitan With Stars And Clouds Under Moonlight

Location:  Yosemite National Park, California, USA, North America (37°43’26” N  119°37’52” W)

Description: I was set to arrive at my cabin on time when I first glimpsed El Capitan. I told my friend Sheri, who was working on a construction project at the Ahwahnee® Hotel in Yosemite Village, she should expect me around 10-10:30pm after I flew into San Francisco and borrowed a car from a friend for the drive to Yosemite National Park.

But my first view of this magnificent rock monolith changed my plans in an instant. The moon was overhead and doing a fair job of lighting the whole valley. When I spotted El Capitan, my jaw dropped and I slowed my car. No other cars were on the road, so I pulled over and stared. Then got out of my car and stared some more.

Suddenly obsessed, and with a tripod in the backseat, I drove around looking for a better vantage point. I had done no research as I was primarily there to visit with a friend on a chance timing when were both in the area. But I did get lucky and found a road leading out of the immediate woods with a more expansive view of the rock.

Quickly I ran across the road for the best vantage I could find along a bridge. I was racing the clock at that point because Sheri had told me she would lock the doors of the cabin around 11:30pm and I really didn’t want to be a bad guest and wake her. My watch said it was 11:15pm.

Setting up my tripod, I wanted to show some movement in the clouds but not the stars and I knew I only had a few chances before I had to get back to my car and a good night’s sleep. With my wide angle lens on, I did some quick calculations and realized I could get away with nearly a 30 second shot before the stars would seem to move. The wind was blowing stiffly up there at the top of the cliff and I figured I had a good chance to get the image I wanted.

My first shot was horribly dark as I had timed it wrong with a closed aperture. My second shot wowed me when the image popped up on the rear LCD of my camera. Happy to not only have the shot but also to have all that grandeur all to myself in the middle of the night, I reluctantly packed up my gear (okay, I really just threw it in the backseat) and made my rendezvous just before I was locked out for the night.

The next day brought rain and crappy landscape weather and that has me yearning to head back to Yosemite National Park with my family so we can explore all the beauty the land has to offer.

Camera Canon 7D
Lens Canon EF 10-22mm
ISO 400
Focal Length 14mm
Aperture f/4.0
Shutter Speed 25 Seconds
Altitude 3959.0 ft

Photograph Copyright Peter West Carey. Image Available For Commercial Licensing (email).

Image may be reproduced for personal, non-commercial use (details) under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. Non-Licensed Commercial use is prohibited and attribution to this post must be given, please.

El Capitan With Stars And Clouds Under Moonlight, Yosemite Natio