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This stunning photograph "Yosemite Grandeur" clinched third place in the 10th annual edition of AAA's WestWays international photo contest!


I embarked on a road trip from San Diego to Yosemite National Park accompanied by close friends in November 2022. None of them had ever been there during the fall, and they excitedly anticipated the park’s grandeur.


We arrived at Yosemite Valley just before dawn, chasing the perfect shot. Knowing there was a prescribed burn happening, we drove around the valley in search for light rays. We rounded the corner and – bang! This scene caught us all by suprise and, safe to say, we got extremely lucky.


Once my gear was set up, I set specific goals for this image and carefully composed it so that the river would lead the viewer’s eye toward the distant cliffs. The play of light and shadow was striking, as the light’s warm golden hues contrasted beautifully with the cool blue tones of the river and sky.


This photograph represents not only Yosemite’s natural wonder but also the memories of an unforgettable adventure shared with dear friends — we hiked to iconic viewpoints, marveled at the waterfalls, and even spotted some wildlife.



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