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National park photo ops: Moonbeams in Yosemite? Perfect timing!

This shot capitalizes on moonlight, the Merced River and a long exposure.
(Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)

At 2 a.m., most people in the Yosemite Valley are sleeping — unless you are a photographer chasing a full moon. A full moon in Yosemite National Park illuminates all the rock faces and turns night into day. For this picture, I mounted a Canon 5D on a tripod with a 16-35mm lens set at f/4 and left the shutter open for 30 seconds with an ISO of 500. With the moon at our backs, we struck a pose on Swinging Bridge, held very still and let the long shadows fall across the still waters of the Merced River, which was turned into a giant reflective pool. This was a truly magical moment with friends that I will never forget.

In honor of this year’s National Park Service centennial, the Travel section is posting 100 park travel ideas and tips based on trips staff travel writer Christopher Reynolds has taken, along with photo-op advice from Times photographer Mark Boster. We’ll post one per day through Dec. 31.

Follow Reynolds on Twitter: @MrCSReynolds

See travel videos by Reynolds from around the world.

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