Half Dome Autumn, California, USA by Kyle Jones

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Picture Story

I captured this image last fall along the shore of the Merced River in Yosemite National Park. I made a day trip to the park with a friend to check out the fall colors in the valley. My day started along the Merced River near El Capitan, capturing reflections of the trees and mountains in the calm waters. I worked my way to this location, arriving about an hour before sunset which gave me plenty of time to decide on my favorite compositions.

When I decided to make the drive into the park, the weather report looked promising for a nice sunset. It was partly cloudy all afternoon, but the clouds disappeared as it got later in the day. With the skies clear, I decided on a composition that filled the frame with other aspects of the scene. I placed Half Dome and the autumn trees near the top of the frame and found some leaves in the water that could fill the bottom. I adjusted my polarizer to balance the reflection with allowing some of the detail below the surface of the river to show through. Half Dome received a nice glow at sunset which completed the scene. I shot this at f/9 to avoid diffraction, but with the lower leaves close to the camera I didn’t have enough depth of field to keep everything in focus. I captured thee images at different focal points and combined them to create the final file. Focus stacking and processing were performed in Photoshop.

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