Half Dome, Brotherhood, and the Setting Sun

Richie’s Ridge

By John P. DeGrazio 

Half Dome from the Diving Board, Yosemite National Park by John P. DeGrazio

On May 4, 2014 I joined a group of 7 explorers to photograph Half Dome from the Diving Board in Yosemite National Park. It was the beginning of an exhilarating  journey with some outstanding new friends. Before we began to shoot, I paused for a moment on an overhanging rock to call my mother. It would have been my brother Anthony’s 47th birthday, and I wanted to check in with my mom to see how she was holding up. As I spoke with her, I noticed one of our party members walking effortlessly along the ridge of the Diving Board. His name was Richie Copeland, and we all felt his energy and excitement as the sun shone on him during his skillful exposition of balance and boldness. I had only met Richie a few short hours ago, but he and I shared an instant bond. We waited out the sunset and were all pleased with our results so the crew returned to camp for brownies and tall tales by the campfire. We formed a brotherhood that evening which none of us will soon forget. Two short weeks later, I learned that I had lost another brother. Richie Copeland fell while doing what he loved most, climbing in Yosemite. This image is for Anthony, Richie, and all the fallen brothers who bask in the setting sun one final time.

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