While I was visiting California I started to think about how I was going to return to Michigan. I considered going back the way I came to try and explore Yellowstone and the Badlands a bit more. As I sat there looking at the map I realized that there was one location that kept attracting my interest and it wasn't too far out of my way.
My first visit to Yosemite was more than 15 years ago and I instantly fell in love with the place. We happened to visit during August which must be the worst time of year to spend in the park. It's crowded, the waterfalls have dried up, and most of the wildflowers are past their peak. Despite all of that the landscape was still striking and I've always wanted to return.
This particular trip would need to be a short one. I had plenty of time to meander across the USA on my way out to California but the return trip home had to be more like a sprint (although I still managed to stray from the straight shot a bit).
The goal was to arrive to Glacier Point just before the sunset and capture the glorious colors set against the dark valley below. This plan was thwarted by the heavy thunderstorms that followed me most of the day (I'm not quite sure how this keeps happening to me in California given the overall drought situation) and delayed my arrival. Once again the plans changed and I adapted to the conditions.
The clouds were supposed to disperse later that evening and luckily there would be a full moon to illuminate the landscape. I think I arrived at Glacier Point sometime after 11 and simply watched the clouds for a bit. Slowly the moon began to emerge after midnight and I trekked out to the actual overlooks and just observed the magic in front of me.
The moon's silvery light looked incredible reflecting off of Half Dome's white granite walls. The world was silent and I was all alone (except for the climbers on top of Half Dome who were revealed by their own headlamps).
I took a few test exposures at a high ISO to see where my settings needed to be. The final exposure was nearly 13 minutes long at f/11 and ISO 400. I simply sat back and watched the clouds cast shadows and move across the landscape while my camera its work for a couple of hours. It was a magical night in a magical location.