After Yosemite Valley, I headed out to explore other parts of the park but the summer traffic was making it next to impossible to stop over at all the traditional stops, so I had to pick my spots carefully so that I could get the best of Yosemite. I favored tunnel view and glacier point since these two were known to have the most gorgeous views of the valley and Tunnel view was on the way to glacier point making it was a quick detour. Tunnel view harbors views that encompass the whole valley and the hype regarding the views if anything is well deserved. Standing on the edge gives you an almost bird’s eye view of the stunning visuals of the valley. You can see cars making their way into Yosemite, eagles soaring above, trees swaying to the winds and clouds passing by under a blue tapestry. After immersing myself with tunnel view, I headed towards glacier point.I had an ulterior motive compared to other tourists who were visiting glacier point. I had seen a million photos of the daytime views from glacier point. So I planned to do night photography and try to capture the stars. I had a lot of time to kill before the sunset. So on the way to Glacier point, I came across the sentinel dome hike and decide to probe since sentinel done had one of the best 360 views of the whole valley. And so I set out on a 2 mile round trip to conquer Sentinel Dome.
The hike is easy until you reach the base of the dome. From here one has to scramble up the dome side to reach the summit. For an experienced hiker it isn’t a challenge but for inexperienced hikers, it might be a bit strenuous. I suggest being careful while you tackle it as the dome steeps down and falling could have devastating effects. As I reached the top of the dome I could see expansive rolling vistas of the valley in every direction. On one side was the setting sun and the Yosemite fall’s water thundering down and on the other side was the imposing half dome with snow covered mountains as a backdrop and the Nevada falls, which can be experienced on the way to the half dome. This hike was for just standing there and taking in all the galvanic views presented to you. Having my fill of the views I headed back to the parking lot and was back on my way to glacier point. It was still early for my night shoot but Yosemite’s summer traffic was there to delay me.
I finally parked my car and was on time to witness the last rays of the sinking sun spill through the clouds and the stars wake up to the oncoming night. I was standing right in front of a view that was simply speaking intoxicating.In front of me was the majestic half dome in all its glory with Nevada falls to its right and other small hills surrounding it. Witnessing this view I understood why hikers and adventurers would hike 18 miles risking falls and injuries to get to this view point even if you could just drive up here. Taking inspiration from them I jumped over the view point boundary and headed towards the edge of the ledge on which the view point is located. Daring a potential 7000 FT fall, I stood on a knife edge stone in the corner of the ledge to get a photo of me with the half dome as my backdrop canvas. As the stars took over the sky I witnessed the view for the patient minded. Orange hued lights below in the valley and bright twinkling celestial bodies up above. It is a view to be experienced. I stood there and perfected my night shots.Some were good, some were bad but I couldn’t get the perfect shot I so craved for. The environ was so flawless that even the silhouettes of the people around me, against the night, turned into a magical snap. Every direction had a view that Instagrammers would kill for. The inconvenience of staying back late in the park was well worth the reward. After getting the photos, I headed back to Yosemite bug to call it a day and rest my jet lagged body.