Unicorn Peak and Cathedral Peak reflected in a pool in the Tuolumne River during a stormy sunset

Behind the scenes of this photo

Taken near the Parsons Memorial Lodge in Tuolumne Meadows, Yosemite National Park on September 21st, 2014

The Tuolumne Meadows run for 10 miles through the Yosemite high country. And along that entire stretch the Tuolumne River meanders and winds its way through forests, open fields, rocky terraces, and herds of deer. At nearly every bend in the river you can find excellent views of the surrounding peaks and, including Dana, Gibbs, Cathedral, Unicorn, Lembert, Fairview, and more. The river is calm and slow moving and there are many spots along its course where you can find decent reflections of the granite and sky above. However, calm as it may be the river is still moving at these spots and the reflection is often more impressionistic than mirror smooth.

Except in this particular location near the Parsons Memorial Lodge. This was my first time exploring this part of the Meadows, having wandered past the lodge on my way back from the 12-mile round trip hike to Glen Aulin. Standing above the river I immediately noticed a deep blue color shining out from this section of the river. Moving closer I discovered this deep, wide, and slow moving pool in the water. Not only were the reflections nearly perfect, but by moving up the banks of the river a bit I was able to find a composition where the trees on the opposite bank neatly framed two of the area’s classic mountains: Cathedral Peak and Unicorn Peak.

Thankfully I had brought all my camera equipment with me on the hike so all I had to do was set up my shot, then sit back and wait for the afternoon sun to light up the day’s storm clouds with a bevy of interesting textures and colors.

View more beautiful Yosemite photos.

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