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#52weeksofnature Photo Contest Week 17 Winner

The winner of Week 17 of our #52weeksofnature photo contest is Wes Bracken (@wes.coast.photo). Yosemite Valley is without a doubt one of the most visually stunning places on the planet. If you don't believe us, go see for yourself. Wes has won a $100 gift code to hippytree.com and we are donating to both the Access Fund and the Surfrider Foundation in his name. Learn more about Wes below.

Where was the image shot?
Yosemite National Park, CA.

What camera did you use and what were the settings?
Camera: Nikon D750
Lens: Tamron SP 15-30mm F/2.8 Di VC USD
Shutter Speed: 20'
Aperture: f/16
ISO: 50

Was there any special preparation required to capture the photo?
Aside from the quickly changing weather, one of the toughest parts of shooting in Yosemite is finding a place to crash if you hope to spend more than a day in the park. We arrived super early and scored a spot at Camp 4, which is a process in itself. Also, if you’re trying to capture the first light on The Dawn Wall (as seen in the photo), make sure you’re up before sunrise so you can get to your spot and get set up in time.

How long have you been shooting?
I’ve been shooting for about three years. I bought myself an entry level DSLR in 2016 and drove up to Big Sur to test it out, only to realize it was a lot harder than it looked. Instead of becoming discouraged, I watched a few YouTube tutorials and made it a point to get outside and use my camera every day. One of the great things about photography is that no matter how long you’ve been shooting, you’re always learning something new.

What's your camera of choice?
I shoot with a Nikon D750, but the best camera is the one you have with you!

What’s your favorite subject matter to shoot?
I’d have to say landscapes/nature are my favorite subjects to shoot. Nothing quite compares to the peace and serenity you feel when it’s just you and your camera, immersed in a breathtaking landscape. Mother Nature is by far the most beautiful model I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with.

Do you shoot with a crew or shoot solo?
When I first started I shot solo quite often as I didn’t know many other photographers in the area. However, through Instagram and the local photography community, I’ve since met a lot of fellow artists with whom I shoot with regularly. I will always enjoy doing my own thing and often wander off from the group, but some experiences are better shared with friends.

What excites you about photography?
So many things! One of those being the challenge that comes with attempting to capture the beauty of nature through photographs. More importantly though, is the opportunity to inspire my fellow humans to not only get outside and explore this beautiful world we live in, but to do their part in protecting and preserving it as well.

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