Panoramas of Yosemite – Clouds Rest

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Cloud's Rest Panorama

To celebrate my 56th birthday…

… i went on a 56 mile walk thru Yosemite, one of my favorite places in the world.  The high point, literally and metaphorically, was Clouds Rest, whose 9,930′ peak looks down on Half Dome and Yosemite Valley itself, at the bottom of a nearly vertical 5000′ rock face that is arguably, the biggest cliff face in the world.

 I took two cameras…

…  one with ‘panorama’ mode – the perfect format to appreciate the vast horizontal landscape of that magical place.  Plus, since i was hiking alone, i was inspired to include myself as well, which as far as i know, resulted in the first panoselfie ever posted on the web.

Cloud's Rest Panoselfie, (as far as i know, the first panoselfie ever)

Cloud’s Rest Panoselfie, (as far as i know, the first panoselfie ever)

 But the real joy …

… was to be on top of this marvelous high point when the light is best, golden hour, just at dawn or just at dusk.  So i made my camp at the very top to enjoy those moments to the fullest.  It did mean a dry camp, no water, except what i hauled with me all the way up to nearly 10,000′, but what a camp site!  Here it is, in the pre dawn dark.  Given the proximity of that 5,000′ drop i felt it wise to tie off to some local rocks.

Pre-Dawn, my campsite, Cloud's Rest, Yosemite (3K image)

Pre-Dawn, my campsite, Cloud’s Rest, Yosemite (3K)

To absorb what a 180-degree panorama really means …

… this next image  is especially  revealing.  It is near dawn, the rising sun just on the horizon, far right; and far left is Dawn, Clouds Rest, Yosemitethe shadow of Cloud’s Rest, cast by the sun herself,

the shadow’s darkness resting like a cloak on the shoulder of Half Dome and extending out beyond and over Yosemite Valley floor leaving the campers there in the dark.   One can see all the way from the sun, the light-source,  to the shadow that the light-source casts.

What sight could be more wonderful.
But think about it, we are seeing in one photo both the light and the shadow being cast by the light.  Both entirely natural and impossible all at once.

For one more pre-dawn wonder…

…   return again to the pre-dawn view from my campsite and see an atmospheric phenomenon, mostly only seen at higher elevations:  the shadow of the earth itself.

Look in the sky from far left of the photo to Half Dome.  Notice the narrow line of darkness as it subtly increases in size to become a slight band of dark.  That, my friends, is the shadow of the earth.

Above that, another wonder, the Girdle of Venus, (aka Belt of Venus by those not quite so intimately acquinted) a marvelous rosy glow caused by sunlight diffused by air in the atmosphere, beautiful in and of itself and also a helpful aid for discerning the darker shadow of earth.  Ah, Nature –  so artistic – adding the most lovely of touches to the magic and mystery and science of light on this planet.

More Yosemited panos?   Yes please!   Click here for  Panoselfies in Yosemite

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