Another morning meant another day of adventure! The Yosemite Falls Hike day before was a bit strenuous because of the camera gear that I was carrying, but I could not miss the sunrise from the Tunnel View. Of course, the main photography subject of the day was Half Dome. But first Bridalveil Fall was in order.
YOSEMITE HALF DOME
One of the main reasons why I made this trip in the first place is Half Dome. And specifically Half Dome at sunset. Of course, I got a sunset shot the day before, and I was quite pleased with it, but I really wanted to capture it in the most photographed angle. From Glacier Point. There is truly something magical about it.
This waterfall was one of the points of interest where I had been before. However, I do not remember all of it, especially Bridalveil Creek. So, this time I decided to focus on the creek for my photography.
From the trailhead it is quite a short hike to the fall. Of course, people can do a longer hike, which I had done the first time I went there, so I decided to stick to one thing. I took a quick look at the fall and strolled down along the creek to look for a spot to set down my tripod.
I found myself a spot in the creek close to the fall. First thing that I noticed was that the creek was flowing quite nicely. Especially Yosemite had snow as late as just over a week ago from the time when I visited, so lack of water wasn’t an issue.
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Also, all the elements for different textures were there. Rocks, moss, logs and of course, the water itself. I really wanted to smooth out the water.
I moved down the creek a little farther. I found this spot and started experimenting compositions. But by the time I started pressing the shutter button, the sun shone through the tree branches above, and me having been so caught up in framing this particular shot, I didn’t realize it, or my brain didn’t register it till a couple of shots later.
I should’ve underexposed a couple of more shots, but I felt like I was spending too much time at the creek, which turned out to be about 1 1/2 hours, so I wrapped it up there. (For record, I shot more than these two shots…) On this shot, learned that I should take time to compose and get proper exposures while bracketing. Otherwise, I would be stuck with bad shots in post processing.
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You can check out this short hike to the waterfalls here.
After lunch, I drove to Glacier Point. My original plan was to hike the Four Mile Trail to Glacier Point from the trailhead in Yosemite Valley, but I realized that it may take a while to come back down, particularly in the dark, by the time I would be done with the Half Dome sunset.
So, instead, I drove. The driving alone was not short either. It took about 1 hour and 15 minutes.
GLACIER POINT AND SENTINEL DOME
Once I arrived at Glacier Point, I had enough time to do a short hike, so I decided to hike all the way to Taft Point from Glacier Point. And on my way to the point, I would hike up to Sentinel Dome. Worst case scenarios, I would take the bus back to Glacier Point. However, I heard that the last bus stop time was 5:30 or something.
After less than a half mile past a point where the turnoff for Sentinel Dome was, I realized that I had to make a decision. Either I kept going to Taft Point and catch the bus in time back to Glacier Point, or I turned around to go up Sentinel Dome and then go back to Glacier Point. I didn’t want to take a chance on the Half Dome sunset.
So, I chose the latter.
You can download the GPX file of the track recorded with Gaia GPS here.
The view from Sentinel Dome was quite impressive. 360 degree view of the park. However, the lighting wasn’t that great for me to capture anything particular, other than those I-was-here shots.
After a break, I got off the dome and headed back to Glacier Point.
Because this was my second time visiting Glacier Point before, I knew where I wanted to set up my camera for one of the most iconic shots in the world.
The sunset painted on Half Dome. This shot had been a long time coming. I wanted to capture this moment as long as I could remember.
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Last time when I was here, I didn’t have proper camera gear. Also, I didn’t want to take photos of Half Dome that I would take a few photos of and then share maybe one or two of them on Facebook or Instagram and forget about it?
No. I wanted to take one photo of Half Dome that not only I can share but also I can print in large size, if I want to.
And I got it.
After sunset, it got dark rather quickly, and it was one of my favorite times – capturing the Milky Way. And this time specifically over Half Dome. You can read more about stargazing written by National Park Service.
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The clear night sky definitely gave way to the Milky Way, and it was quite mesmerizing. It doesn’t matter how many times I looked at the Milky Way, it is always the same. Such a wonderful feeling about being able to see it with my own eyes. Such a humbling experience.
Have you caught Half Dome sunset and also the Milky Way over Half Dome? How was your experience? Did you like hiking Sentinel Dome? What else did you do at Glacier Point?
Thanks for reading.