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This looks possible. Given at least 7 different photos by 5 different photographers at the spot all showing a view of half dome from the valley, this doesn't look faked.
Here are some of the photos (you have the option to see 100% crop on most of them)
Why, and how, would they all fake this in photoshop? Check the 100% crops most of them offer.
They have to be extremely good to fake those. I can't find any signs that point to being photoshopped. EXIF data are intact on them as well.
The thing we have to remember is that this is not a view seen with your naked eye. You won't see this just by driving down the 99. I know because I've driven by that area a number of times and if I saw Half Dome, I would have noticed. This is a view seen with a telephoto lens and in the case with the flickr image, 200mm + Nikon crop body (1.5x) + 2x TC = 600mm.
For perspective, check out the street view from google maps of the approx. location by doing a search for 5278 Hall Rd, Denair, CA, United States. The barn tower in the foreground of the picture is barely visible with the naked eye on streetview.
Keep in mind also that half dome is HUGE. Trying to spot any details of the valley (road, cars, barn tower, etc) from half dome would probably be like trying to spot people standing on top of half dome from the valley.
Also, no one takes a long telephoto up to half dome to check if they can see the valley. Well, maybe now we will! But again, being visible would not necessarily mean visible with the naked eye. You'll probably need a long telephoto, and know where to look, to spot it.
Just some food for thought.
Edited on Feb 09, 2010 at 03:20 AM · View previous versions