El Capitan Sunrise

El Capitan Sunrise

I don't recall exactly when it happened, but at some point in my late teen years, I got turned on to the work of Ansel Adams. It may have been those kitschy art shops in the malls at the time I was hanging out there in high school, but at some point around that time, I discovered Ansel Adams work and it moved me. I was still a few years from picking up my first serious camera, and still more years from finding my passion in capturing the landscape, but it was through Adams work that I first discovered Yosemite, and had the first sparks of desire to see the valley for myself. This past weekend, I was watching "Free Solo", the Oscar-winning documentary about Alex Honnold, who became the first man to scale the face of El Capitan without a rope or harness, and I was reminded of my trips to Yosemite, and images I've made of El Capitan.

This image is El Capitan Sunrise, which I photographed from along the banks of the Merced River, directly opposite El Cap. I was an assistant instructor on a workshop, and we had a cool, crisp morning to watch the first sun of the day kiss the tip of El Capitan. Once I knew the members of our group were set and knew what they wanted to do, I went about making a few of my own images. This one was instantly one of my favorites. It's more of a non-standard view of the monolith, as there are two more popular views of it at Tunnel View and Valley View. But this view, with the Merced laid out right in front of me, El Capitan and the trees on the valley floor reflected in the river, has a quiet feel and a more unique view of El Capitan than most I've seen. I love the soft, warm light on the right side of the nose of El Capitan, and the colors in the trees as they blossom in spring time. I used a wide angle lens for this to be able to capture the entire scene in the frame. To me, it's quintessential Yosemite, without being another image from Tunnel View.

You can check out more of my images from Yosemite and Western United States in my Western USA gallery.