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Photographers are a special kind of crazy.  We willingly look ridiculous to get the right angles for a shot, we spend impossible hours deleting stray hairs from an image, and we completely disregard our own safety for the sake of an epic image.

We can also keep the strangest hours.

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2017

Sunsets keep us out late, and sunrises are worth that o-dark-hundred alarm.  Daytime?  The light is too harsh anyway, so that’s the perfect time to sleep!  And nighttime?  The night is full of magic.  Stars, moon, milky way, aurora…  These things few see.

It comes at the cost of sleep, but I seldom regret it.

When we went to Yosemite, we knew we’d have a near-full moon to contend with, so we never hoped for great star shots.  Instead, we focused on something that has become my new fascination: moonscapes.

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2017

With a long exposure, night can turn into day… but the sky is a rich blue, speckled with light from billions of miles away.  And the foreground is gently illuminated.  Contrast isn’t as harsh as it is during the daytime, and any motion blurs in a soft representation of the passage of time.

It’s a world that our eyes don’t ever truly see – even when we’re there.

Our alarms were set for 2am, and even a late night of Jenga until midnight wouldn’t stop us from dutifully rising for the scene that awaited us.

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2017

Sure enough, the valley from Tunnel View was absolutely beautiful.  Cold, but beautiful.  The moon was behind us, bathing the world in a cool blue light.  It was so peaceful and serene.  No tourists, no cars.  Not even a sign of wildlife.  As the valley quietly slept, we observed, admired, and photographed.

It was unlike any photography I had done in the past.

Without sun, the usually blown-out sky was stunning to behold.  And with the moon, the landscape before us took its proper place in our photos, displayed in its full majesty instead of being obscured into an indecipherable silhouette.  Everything was balanced into something the midday sun could never accomplish.  It was our very own magic blue hour that spanned much of the night, and I fell in love with it.

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2017

I may have been cold and a little bit tired, but it was worth it for the amazing moonscapes we got out of it.  Now I just need to pry myself out of bed to get more shots like these!

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