While visiting Yosemite last June, this was one preconceived photograph that I had particularly hoped to make. On my very first visit to Yosemite I took in the sunset on Sentinel Dome and was immediately drawn to it, and produced two of my absolute favorite photographs of the same Jeffrey Pine. I returned the next year to attempt a large format version, but actually missed the best light, which is very transient. On this past trip I was better prepared and fortunately did not miss my opportunity.
The color on Sentinel Dome can become intensely pink and red after sunset, when conditions are just right. There were plenty of high-elevation clouds to the west and north of Sentinel Dome and after the sun set, these clouds lit up brightly. The light that then fell on Sentinel Dome (and indeed all of the high country) was this reflected warm light off the clouds. You can get a sense of what the sunset was like from a couple other photographs taken within moments of this facing Half Dome, or across the valley.
Despite a spectacular sunset still taking place on Half Dome, I broke away and ran over to the Jeffrey Pine to set up in anticipation of the change in light, and manage to produce a few frames. I believe, in my haste, that I forgot to properly secure the front standard of my camera and it slid lower, thereby changing my composition to include more of the foreground which I had neither intended, nor focused. I intended to include more of the sky, and as a result I have opted to crop some of the foreground, and alter the aspect-ratio.
Sentinel Dome has been one of my absolute favorite spots in Yosemite since my first trip to the park. If you have an evening to spend in the park, consider making the short hike out there to take in the sunset. And if you have not yet been to Yosemite... just go.
Tachihara 4x5 | Caltar 210mm f/6.1 | f/16 | 1s | Fuji Provia 100F | Tripod
See more related images in my Yosemite National Park Gallery.
All text and images © Tyler Westcott, All rights reserved, Unless otherwise noted.