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Dr. Christopher Brooks

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December Sunrise On The Merced River

Over the past two weeks I've been busy with finishing up my classes at the college in addition to making not one, but two trips up to Yosemite inside of a week.  The first trip was an attempt to get the full moon rising behind Half Dome from the Tunnel, but we got shut out with high clouds at the last minute and ended our trip with a decent sunset instead.  

The second trip was made last Friday as the largest storm since 2008 was due to roll into Northern and Southern California.  I talked my friend and fellow landscape photographer <a href="">Tom Bricker</a>  into taking the trip up with me and both of us set off in the heavy rain with hopes of coming back with something decent from the weekend.  It took us quite a while to get up there as we had to deal with the weather AND the fact that route 99 had been closed in both directions due to flooding.  

We never really had high hopes of seeing snow on the valley floor until I pulled up the webcam before we left and spotted snow at the Happy Isles location.  The snow level was only supposed to get down to 6000 feet which is roughly 2000 feet above the valley floor, but as we made our way into the valley during the late afternoon hours, it began to snow in earnest.  We spent the rest of the afternoon shooting and finally headed out at 11 PM after giving up on a moonrise as the storm stalled on the foothills of the Sierras and refused to move.  

We were up at 3 AM the next morning and headed into the valley with hopes of catching the moon on the new snow.  Much of the cloud cover was still there with patchy fog throughout the valley, but we did find a couple of spots and got a few shots in before the sun came up.  Once the sun was up, the race was on as we sped around the valley loop twice while some of the other photographers were just setting up their tripods up at the tunnel.  One of our last stops before heading out was the river bend in front of Half Dome where we quickly set up our tripods with literally 10 seconds before the sun crested the ridge, giving us the opportunity to get a sunburst or two in before it rose high in the sky.   I have never shot the park in December before, and I assumed that the sun would be too far South to crest the ridge anywhere near Half Dome, so I was pleasantly surprised to find the sun almost where I had left it in November.  

All in all, Tom and I didn't get exactly what we were after, but we were VERY pleased to be there for the first valley snow of the year and both of us felt that we had come back with some keepers.  Already looking forward to our next trip in January! 

#yosemitenationalpark   #yosemite   #halfdome   #sunrise   #MercedRiver  

#hqsplandscape , +HQSP Landscape curated by +Michael Garza +Nader El Assy +Vinod Krishnamoorthy +Luca Ferroglio +Craig Loxley +Rob Tilley +Dorothy Pugh

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#landscapephotography +Landscape Photography +Landscape Photography Show +Margaret Tompkins +Jim Warthman +Kevin Rowe +Johan Peijnenburg +David Heath Williams +Tom Hierl +Carolyn Lim +Tom Sloan +Howard L. Smith +Kai Kosonen +Tony Heyward +Sheila B. DuBois +Sandra Brown +Vishal Kumar +Toshi Nakamura +Bill Wood

+Mirrors and Reflections curated by +Gemma Costa #mirrorsandreflections

#BTPLandscapePro +BTP Landscape Pro +Nancy Dempsey +Rinus Bakker 
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