Half Dome, Yosemite, California, USA by Fereshte Faustini

Picture Story

One calm, crisp cold morning, I found myself basking in the quiet of Yosemite Valley. I frequently travel around the Western United States in my Toyota 4Runner, going from well travelled places to the obscure hidden gems that photographers keep secret for fear of losing the pristine landscapes to human overexposure.

I had been in Yosemite National Park for a few days to take advantage of the Sierra winter storm for some moodier photography opportunities. But on this day, not a cloud could be seen in the sky and despite the best attempts of the sun, the air was bitingly cold. As I hiked contentedly through the sparkling piles of fresh powder, I came upon one of my favorite openings in the river that gently flows through the valley. I was on the hunt for some color photography, specifically the blue and gold hues, which this valley is well known for especially during the winter time. I wasn’t expecting to find much as it was simply the wrong time of day and direct sun rarely provides the dramatic flair that seek in my photography. Oh, how I was wrong.

The scene before me was wondrous: Yosemite's majestic Half Dome, peeking through the snow-covered valley, completely sun-kissed, golden, and luminous, reflecting gently on the half-frozen water below. This is why Yosemite continues to be one of the most incredible National Parks. The mix of gold and blue was stunning, and abnormally brilliant for the conditions and time of day.

I'm grateful to have been present for this exquisite view, and I take pride in this country for making special places like Yosemite National Park a place where millions of people can enjoy the splendor and beauty of Mother Nature for generations to come.

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