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  • Writer's pictureamethel

Nature's Grandest Temple

Updated: Dec 15, 2022

“Yosemite is by far the grandest of all the special temples of Nature I was ever permitted to enter.” ―John Muir

*** On our recent trip to Yosemite, we wanted to shoot our first Milky Way of the season. Usually, when planning a shot, we try to focus on the bright galactic core. However, shooting within Yosemite’s deep valley makes this a challenge, especially this early in the season. Other possible locations in the high country of Yosemite were still closed.

So Ken and I focused our planning and visioning around the iconic Valley View. The Milky Way would rise to create an arch over El Capitan, the Three Brothers, and Bridalveil Fall. The arch wouldn’t be the bright galactic core, but a darker side away from the core, which is far more faint. But with little light pollution in this direction of the valley, we figured we’d be able to see it. And wow, did we! In the pitch dark night, we could see the darker parts of the Milky Way with our naked eyes. As we sat alone along the Merced River, perched on a giant, centuries-old log at 2 AM, we were in complete awe. (Except when we heard wildlife shuffling around nearby — that was just scary.) Even from across the valley, we could hear the powerful rush of Bridalveil Fall as if it were just next to us.

Today is Earth Day, and so I’m thankful for the protection of our national parks like Yosemite. Our parks are truly national treasures.

Field & Processing Notes: the Milky Way is a single frame from stacked images I’ll process for high ISO noise reduction and clarity when printing. The foreground is a twilight blend from the same camera location and set-up.

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