Olmsted Point, Yosemite, California, USA by Kyle Jones

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Yosemite National Park is close enough to my home that I often make day trips to do some hiking and photography. I really enjoy the high country along Tioga road as it has a lot of great trails and landscapes while being much less crowded than the valley. On this occasion, I drove up to the park in early November with plans to do some hiking during the day before shooting sunset and some nightscapes at Olmsted Point. There had been some snowfall that week, which limited my hiking choices but added an extra element to my photos.

Olmsted Point is a great location for photography in any conditions. It has sweeping views of Clouds Rest and Half Dome for grand landscape photos, but it also has some really interesting trees and rocks for some more intimate scenes. This curved juniper is one of the more interesting trees in the area, with swept-back branches that make it look like it belongs on the front of an old sailing ship. For this image, I lined up the scene with the tree reaching toward the Milky Way in the sky. There was still some glow along the horizon from sunset which I thought added some nice color. I was using a lens that only had a maximum aperture of f/4, so I increased my ISO to 8000 to get a good exposure of the sky. The Canon 6D had always done well for me at high ISO, so I was confident in the result. After opening my shutter, I moved to the side and used my flashlight to add some light to the tree, helping it to stand apart from the scene. This is a single exposure primarily processed in Lightroom for color and contrast.

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