Yosemite Backcountry Surprise

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When I look at this picture today, I am mesmerized by the colors more than anything. I actually consider myself lucky to be able to even capture this image. My buddy Swapnil and I drove to Yosemite that afternoon, took the backcountry permit, rented the airtight food container from the ranger station and reached the trailhead. We started walking with our heavy backpacks with camping, food and camera gear. It’s a fairly steep trail that takes us approximately 2000 ft higher. 

Yosemite Backcountry Surprise

With a slight miss from the bear on the way that surprised a lady hiker right behind me, we reached this lake at 10000 ft almost at sunset. I almost knew that we were going to miss this. The sun had gone behind the ridge of the mountain towards the southwest and the last part of the trail I walked in the shadow. The moment we reached there, I threw my backpack on the ground and quickly got my camera out. The Cathedral peak right behind us was having a very faint pink glow. This was a sign that we had missed the golden light on it. For a few moments, I was disappointed.  I was struggling to quickly find the composition to photograph that peak and since we were right under it. It was very difficult to do so, however. There was almost no chance. I moved to the lake to the west. And I realized that all was not lost yet. The sky towards the west was starting to get pink and red after the sunset. With zero scouting ahead of time and the light quickly changing and disappearing, I had to act really quickly. I quickly found this composition with the tall trees and the mountain in the background, while the shore of the lake took me from the foreground to the trees in the back. The rock gave me a simple foreground element with the log that also led towards the background. A couple of quick shots and the light was gone. I have contemplated the fact that I should have used the ND filter to slow down the shutter speed, however, I am happy with the results so far.


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