Behind The Shot: Happy 125th Birthday, Yosemite National Park

Behind The Shot: Happy 125th Birthday, Yosemite National Park

Photo By Kris Walkowski

To celebrate the 125th anniversary of Yosemite National Park, I decided to hike Half Dome and, if lucky enough, to create a panorama at “The Gates of the Valley.”

My friends and I took on the exhausting Half Dome hike. I wasn’t really prepared for it.  However, since this was my idea I stood up to the challenge and completed one of the toughest hikes I’ve ever done. I was struggling with cramps almost half of the hike. I don’t ever remember being more exhausted in my life. But, at the end, it was totally worth it. The view of the valley was amazing.

To take the panorama, I arrived at the desired spot a few minutes before the sun was setting. I remember my legs were shaking from total exhaustion. But, somehow, I managed to find the place, set up my tripod and capture the desired composition. As far as I remember, the tripod was placed on a huge log. All the other details seem very foggy due to how tired I was. The picture was a great closure to my extraordinary day. I want to dedicate this image to the Great Yosemite National Park.—Kris Walkowski

Image details: Six-image panorama taken at sunset. Settings: 34mm @ ƒ/14, 1/3 sec., ISO 100. This image was stitched/processed via Photoshop and Lightroom.

To see more of Kris Walkowski’s photography, visit, and follow him on Facebook and Twitter

Check out more Behind The Shot stories here. Want your images considered for a Behind The Shot story? Submit them to our online member gallery at and to our weekly photo assignments at

Want to learn more about creating panoramas? Russ Burden shares some great tips in his Panorama Primer. Adam Woodworth also has a great tutorial on when and how to create panoramas of our home galaxy in his article, Photographing The Milky Way.