Going to Wawona

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Last week the workshop group learned a valuable lesson; cloudless skies make for boring sunrises. While I’ve experienced many gorgeous sunrises in Yosemite Valley, they’re the exception rather than the rule. Because of the valley topology, the sun rises long before you’re able to actually see it from the valley floor.  Without clouds on the Eastern horizon the sky gets very little color at all. When we get blank skies, during a workshop, we teach folks to shoot the valley in silhouette; which can often be quite interesting. It’s a nice technique, but I’ve already got plenty of those shots. I needed to find something else to shoot.

After making sure that everyone was getting the hang of a tricky exposure I set my camera up and composed a shot of the tunnel directly behind Tunnel View. On a previous workshop, we had a student who made a really nice image of the glowing tunnel. Since it was pretty dark, requiring a long exposure, I thought that it needed something else: a car. I dialed in my exposure and went back to helping students with their compositions and exposures. Every time I heard a car coming up the road, I’d run to the camera and fire off a shot. One after another, the cars would stop and pull into the parking area behind us; ruining the shot. Finally, just as we were ready to leave, I heard another car. I clicked the shutter and watched as the car continued on it’s way through the tunnel and on to Wawona. I love it when a plan comes together.


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