On the evening of November 12, 2013 I drove up from Yosemite Valley to the Tunnel View parking area looking down and across the Valley. I knew in advance (from The Photographers' Ephemeris) that the sun would set directly into the face of El Capitan, provided that it wasn't blocked out by passing clouds.

Luckily that evening the storm clouds were moving out, not in, and it was all clear for the fifteen minutes it took for the sun to go down. Shown at the right are six photographs taken as the sun set.

Notice how the color of the light on El Capitan changes from yellow to orange to red, and how the light on the blowing clouds also changes. Due to the curvature of the earth, the sky and clouds continue to reflect the sun's light even after it has set.

All six of the images on this page were taken in the sequence shown using a Nikon D800 on a tripod with a 24-70mm/f2.8 zoom lens or an 85mm/f1.4 lens (the focal length is in the file name). A strong Ultraviolet Cut filter was used on both lenses.

The first five photographs are all single images processed with Adobe Photoshop CC (i.e. with no layer masking of different exposures). The final image is five files combined in Photomatix to produce an HDR file that was then processed in Photoshop.

In all instances I had five exposures bracketed at 1EV (shutter stop) apart to work from. I knew the results would be good when I left the Park that evening, but frankly I was surprised at how good they actually turned out.

In the words of a nationally known landscape photographer, "bad weather makes good photographs". In Yosemite it produces clouds that add drama to the sky.

  YOSM-144 Tunnel View Sunset 35H
  YOSM-145 Tunnel View Sunset 70H
  YOSM-146 Tunnel View Sunset 85V
  YOSM-147 Tunnel View Sunset 85H
    YOSM-149 Tunnel View Sunset 70V
    YOSM-150 Tunnel View Sunset HDR 50H
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Copyright © 2013 Jack McBride.