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Mitternacht Auf Der Upper Falls TrailLast Friday, I was finally able to jump back into the Prius for another Yosemite run, this time with the goal of hiking the Upper Falls Trail with hopes of grabbing a shot of the Milky Way branching out from Yosemite Falls. I have been after a shot like this since taking a shot of the Super Moon while hiking back down from Yosemite Point back in 2013.I pulled into the valley around 7:30 PM and spent a little bit of time walking along the river and admiring the dogwood blossoms which were everywhere. The river seemed almost twice its normal size as the heavy winter snowfall was now melting in earnest throughout the valley. All of the smaller falls along both sides of the valley were going full tilt. Ribbon, Sentinel, the cascades next to the Royal Arches… everywhere you turned there was another waterfall.All of this should have tipped me off that I was going to have to deal with some challenges, but I have to admit that I wasn’t thinking about potential problems as I stood gawking at the amount of water coming over Bridal Veil Fall. It was definitely a good night to be in the valley.My first challenge showed up when I tried to park near the Upper Falls trail. The campground 4 parking lot was now by reservation only and you had to be a registered camper to park there. It seemed that the care-free days of the "dirt bagger" climbers had definitely come to an end. To make matters worse, when I went to park on the opposite side of the road, a sign was posted which read "No parking from 12 – 6 AM…Tow Away Zone." So….where did they want me to park? Back at Cook’s meadow? What about all of those hikers on the trail? Were rangers going to tow away their cars if they couldn’t make it back by midnight?I decided to take a chance that they were really trying to make sure people knew they were not allowed to camp in their cars overnight in Yosemite. At 9:30, I parked in the lot opposite camp 4, double checked my bag and set off. I took my sweet time going up as I’m not as fast as I used to be and after 40 or so switchbacks, I began to make my way across the valley wall toward the Falls.I should point out that the last time I was up on this trail, it was in late June after a dry Winter. In May, much of the trail is literally under water as several small streams cross the trail in various places. I had been hearing several of these small streams and waterfalls for about a half an hour or so, but as I passed Columbia Rock and drew near where the trail turned North toward the falls, I began to hear another, more ominous sound. I was still several turns away from the corner when the wind began to pick up and mist began falling from the sky. As no wind was forecasted for the valley that night, it began to dawn on my that the low rumble, the wind, and the mist were all due to the incredible volume of water that was now coming down in Yosemite Falls. As I turned the corner, the mist hit me full force in the face and I turned off my head lamp. The effect was almost terrifying. You couldn’t see the falls, but it sounded like they were just above my head. The ground seemed to be shaking, and the wind was noticeably stronger. When I switched my headlamp back on, you could see how hard the mist was blowing now and the trail in front of me was completely soaked.Extremely long exposures were now completely out of the question as mist was blowing in all directions including directly onto my lens. I could barely get away with 25 – 30 second exposures, so that’s what I stuck with. I had to wait for about an hour for the Milky Way to show up (thank God for great wifi on that section of the trail) and I ended up shooting from about midnight to 2 AM. The shot above is from a pano taken with the 14-24 2.8. It was definitely slow going as I paused to wipe down the lens after every shot, and I also managed to knock my tripod off a cliff which required a rescue effort.So….lessons? First of all, if there is a heavy snowfall in the preceding Winter, May is probably not the best month to try a Milky Way shoot on that trail. If the falls are going full tilt, the billowing clouds of mist that are generated land right on top of the falls trail…which probably feels GREAT on a warm afternoon. But when you are shooting long exposures trying to capture the Milky Way, it can be a real challenge. A small group of 5-6 other photographers came up after me and ended up leaving after an hour or so. It was just too windy and wet. The wind that was generated by that amount of water was definitely impressive.Secondly, just because it’s windy and mist is flying in all directions, it doesn’t mean your chances of getting Milky Way shots are nil. I am shocked that I was able to get anything that night. Before heading back down in frustration, it’s always a good idea to at least try a few shots in case you get lucky.Third, it seems that the signage around that parking lot is meant to scare away would-be car campers. I arrived, tired and pretty sore, well after 3 PM and my car was one of several that was left in the lot. No tickets or notes were on any of the cars.I’ll probably give this another try, but it might need to wait a year as I might not be able to get back up there for another Milky Way attempt this Summer.————–Thank you so much for your views and comments! If you have specific questions or need to get in touch with me, please be sure to send me a message via flickr mail, or feel free to contact me via one of the following:Instagram | Blog | Website | Facebook | 500px | Twitter

Letzten Freitag konnte ich endlich wieder in den Prius springen, um einen weiteren Yosemite-Lauf zu absolvieren. Diesmal mit dem Ziel, den Upper Falls Trail zu besteigen, in der Hoffnung, einen Schuss der von Yosemite Falls abzweigenden Milchstraße zu ergattern. Ich bin hinter einer solchen Aufnahme her, seit ich 2013 eine ...

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