El Capitan’s Midnight Crown

El Capitan’s immense figure blocks my view of the north star Polaris.  I can only guess where it should be based on the time and positions of other stars.  A position in an open field in Yosemite Valley allows me to make this composition.

The moonless night meant that the only illumination was by starlight.  The park is sufficiently remote to escape the light pollution from large cities, but not enough to avoid airplane traffic.  The distinct dotted lines mark the strobe lights of distant flights, unknowingly adding their trails to those of the stars.

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Yosemite National Park
13 April 2002
Pentax 67 w 55mm lens at f/4
90 minute exposure on Provia 400


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Yosemite Falls by Starlight

Yosemite National Park, 13 April 2002
Pentax 67 w 55mm lens at f/4, 2 hour exposure on Provia 400

I was given a hint that I should consider Yosemite Falls as a startrail target because the trail to it ran along a north-south path.  I wasn’t brave enough to hike in the dark, but I did find a vantage point from across the valley that placed Polaris directly above the falls.

The moonless night meant that the only illumination was by starlight.  The park is sufficiently remote to escape the light pollution from large cities, but not enough to avoid airplane traffic.  To minimize them crossing the view, this exposure was done in the very early morning hours when all the airplanes have found their destinations and the only sound in the air was the distant rushing of water.


If you are interested in my occasional contributions to Thor’s Life-Notes, I invite you to follow along.