Half Dome – from dawn to dusk

OK, everyone’s seen pictures of Half Dome before. Ansel Adams did some quite good shots, Galen Rowell took a few snaps, it may even have become a bit of a cliche… But I don’t care! Here is my HD portrait, from dawn to dusk, and I’m proud of it…

Dawn breaks in Yosemite

Dawn breaks on Half Dome


I was just setting up this pic below when a bear swam across the river behind me. Missed the shot completely – so much for my action photographer skills…


Half Dome and Merced River

Early morning Half Dome and Merced River


I think some quite well-known photographer made this view famous. No clearing winter storm to light my pic, a slightly murky August day instead.

Midday Half Dome from Wawona Road

Midday Half Dome from Wawona Road


What a lump of rock this is! The closer you get, the bigger it gets. Not bad for a bit of granite.


Half Dome profile from Washburn Point

Half Dome profile from Washburn Point



It’s distinctive, like a face. This is more portrait photography than landscape…

The face of Half Dome

The face of Half Dome

Reflection at dusk

Reflection at dusk

The valley in shadow

The valley in shadow


And if the Yosemite Gods are kind then you get a bit of cloud for a final sunset image.

Half Dome from Olmsted Point

Half Dome from Olmsted Point

What beauty in a lump of granite. Spectacular…




7 responses to “Half Dome – from dawn to dusk

  • patricknicholas

    I like the last shot best – the half dome is no longer the protagonist, you have given the little rock his 15 metres of fame. My photo science tutor at college, for whom I was an incompetent thorn in the side, admired Adams most of all – but then he would wouldn’t he? To me Adams was little more than a technician. Nowadays anyone can follow his zone system with a half way decent digital camera – where is the art? Give me Steichen any day. Why don’t you make a trip up to Mamaroneck, NY and take a look at the pond there? Preferably by moonlight.

  • thomas peck

    Yes, I agree, although calling Adams just a technician is perhaps a little harsh. But Steichen is definitely much more of an artist in terms of interpretation and vision. Can the canon not accommodate both? At any rate, good to be a thorn in the side of a photo science tutor. Most satisfying…

  • Sandy Weir

    Beautiful images Tom; I’m very envious of your trip to Yosemite. It doesn’t really matter if the scenes have been photographed by Adams or indeed thousand of others before you; what is important is the “feeling” you had at the point of clicking the shutter. Cheers.

  • Sandra Beckett

    Dear Thomas, I see you are back breathing ³the air the angels breathe² (John Muir). We so enjoy reading your word smithing as you gypsy about the globe capturing images to delight, awe, and bring on smiles and laughter! Mike and I climbed Half Dome (on the cables side) when I turned fifty, which was a psychological and physical feat for me, as I have ³exposure² issues and had a mild-intense panic attack ³I¹m going to die today!² (not a positive affirmation) just climbing over the domes to get to the cables. When you get to the approach there is a crack next to the first cables filled with dried up used gloves that tell a story of a strangers¹ cabled climb, so I tried a few pairs on to see just to see which matched my outfit and decided I would attempt 10 feet to witness what it felt like, no further, that was all I could imagine. We had camped on the Merced river the night before, so we were the first ones there and I had already told Mike and my son Parker to go ahead (via short wave radio) -I was enjoying breathing a mantra with my panic attack, and wouldn¹t be going further. Strangely, the breathing worked! And instead of crawling and crying I stood up and walked across that dome free as a bird from my fears! (thank goodness, as I have all the confidence of a therapy god encouraging clients to try this simple technique when anxiety needs to be harnessed!) Anyway, I was totally alone with this hunk of granite, and step by step (the olive colored gloves did make me smile, as my mom was a fashionista and this tomboy was making her proud!) breath by breath, I kept going 20 feet at a time until I was standing on top of that beauty-WOWSA-exhilaration defined! Anyway, your photos brought that memory back to mind 11 years later sitting at the computer today, and I thank you-I do keep a small wood cut card in my office to remind myself one can do something you would never imagine, and it¹s helpful to just take it step by step, bite by bite-and take time to choose your accessories! So, if you are near to Reno or Tahoe, we would love to show you our friendly American faces and treat you to breakfast , lunch, dinner, wine, coffee, beer-whatever suits you! You are also welcome if you need a place to lay your head-we live west of town next to the Truckee River, 1/2 hour from Tahoe. Our best to you, Sandi and Mike (Enjoyed your company at the coffee house in Bluff , Utah and raised a glass of Gigandes Red in your honor days later!) 775-747-1187 5485 Fenno Way Reno, Nevada 89519

    On 8/26/15, 1:16 AM, “Thomas Peck Photos” wrote:

    > thomas peck posted: “OK, everyone’s seen pictures of Half Dome before. Ansel > Adams did some quite good shots, Galen Rowell took a few snaps, it may even > have become a bit of a cliche… But I don’t care! Here is my HD portrait, > from dawn to dusk, and I’m proud of it… ” >

    • thomas peck

      Hi Sandra! what a lovely comment. I’m jealous of you having climbed Half Dome – how I would love to do that! One day, one day… In fact I’m building up quite a lot of adventures that I want to have a go at in the States (rafting down the Colorado River is at the top of my list). I remember our breakfast with great fondness. In fact, it has become one of the stories I tell of how welcoming and friendly America is. You invited me to join you and recommended the blueberry pancakes, which were, truly, the most delicious in the world. If I ever come to Tahoe I will look you up. And I extend the invitation to you. Whenever you come to London, let me know and we can share a bottle of Gigondas together. There’s a promise. Tom

  • joshi daniel

    gorgeous and loved those shadows 🙂

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