Half Dome above a fog layer at sunrise, Yosemite NP, CA, USA

Half Dome above a fog layer at sunrise, Yosemite NP, California. This is actually two frames from my 50mm lens stitched together, as that lens wasn’t quite wide enough, but my next widest lens (35mm) was too wide.

After photographing the trees in fog I described in this recent post, a few mornings later I went up to Yosemite Valley again as another storm was clearing. I climbed up to a different spot, with a view of Half Dome, and once again saw the valley floor covered in a shallow layer of fog, with trees poking out.

But this time I also saw high clouds, and some mist wrapped around Half Dome. Under those conditions the higher clouds often light up before sunrise, but not this time; probably some clouds farther east, out of sight, blocked that early light. But later, as the sun rose higher, it broke through and backlit the clouds and mist. My favorite moment is shown above, with that backlit mist, and trees poking out of the fog below.

As the light changed on Half Dome, I sometimes switched to my 100-400mm lens and zoomed in on patterns of trees and fog. Even though I’d just made some similar images a few days before, I wasn’t going to pass up another chance like that. I’ve been photographing Yosemite Valley for decades, and rarely had such good opportunities to photograph those tree-and-fog views. (You’ll find a couple of those images below.)

It was another super-fun morning. It’s been a dryer-than-average winter so far, but for photography it’s not the size of the storm matters, but the timing and the conditions it creates. We’ve had a couple of well-timed clearing storms lately, with lots of mist, and I’ll be hoping for more well-timed storms through the rest of the winter.

— Michael Frye

Trees, fog, and cliffs, Yosemite NP, CA, USA

Trees, fog, and cliffs, Yosemite NP, California

Trees in fog, Yosemite NP, CA, USA

Trees in fog, Yosemite NP, California

Related Posts: Trees and Fog; Yosemite Snow

Michael Frye is a professional photographer specializing in landscapes and nature. He lives near Yosemite National Park in California, but travels extensively to photograph natural landscapes in the American West and throughout the world.

Michael uses light, weather, and design to make photographs that capture the mood of the landscape, and convey the beauty, power, and mystery of nature. His work has received numerous awards, and appeared in publications around the world. He’s the author and/or principal photographer of several books, including Digital Landscape Photography: In the Footsteps of Ansel Adams and the Great Masters, and The Photographer’s Guide to Yosemite.

Michael loves to share his knowledge of photography through articles, books, workshops, online courses, and his blog. He’s taught over 200 workshops focused on landscape photography, night photography, digital image processing, and printing.