Yosemite photography w/out hiking?

Discussion in 'Nature' started by melissa_eiselein, Aug 7, 2007.

  1. I am going to Yosemite with a friend next May. We'll be staying just outside the
    park in an area that is less than 30 minutes from the valley floor. We'll have
    two, hopefully three full days that we can devote to photography in Yosemite.

    Unfortunately, I am neither young nor fit. Ideally, I'd like to drive as much as
    possible (Toyota Camry) and carry my camera, lenses and tripod as little as
    possible. Walking up even a moderate incline with my camera and tripod would be
    a challenge, especially since Yosemite is a much higher elevation than I'm used to.

    I don't need to shoot the unique, rarely traveled wilderness. I just want to try
    my hand at shooting a few nice, but easy to reach, pics. I'm quite the amateur.
    Any itinerary ideas or equipment suggestions would be greatly appreciate.

    FYI: I have a 16-35 and 70-200. Will I need something wider or with more reach?
    (I'm sure either would be handy, but is one or other a must in Yosemite?)
  2. Hi Melissa,

    I don't think you'll have any problems having a wonderful time. Many people visit Yosemite and see all the sights they want without venturing further than 100 yards from the car. Most, sadly, don't have the excuse you do.

    Many of Adam's famous shots were taken near the road on the valley floor, while Glacier Point and Olmstead Point on the Tioga Road are great stop-offs by car. You've also got the classic Tunnel View, not far different from Adam's Inspiration Point, and the Mariposa Grove of sequoias. Some great waterfalls shots will be possible straight from the valley floor.

    In short, it'll be fantastic. Best wishes Mark
  3. Good luck NOT taking thousands of pictures anywhere there. Add to the above that driving on up toward Tioga Pass will get you to some "back country" territory, but still on the road. If you can return in the winter, the valley floor becomes wilderness, particularly if there is a snowstorm.
  4. Ditto Robert, an absolute abundance of shots just from the Valley floor, right outside the car
  5. You will have more problems finding time to photograph everything you want to. May is a
    great time as the falls and the Merced river should be running full and the weather can be
    very interesting. The road to the high country (glacier point, etc) should still be closed then
    as they close it for the winter. The snow will probably not be melted enough for the road to
    open by then. Have a wonderful trip.
  6. While both wider and longer lenses might be useful, those will easily cover most of your needs (I'm assuming you have something in the middle as well).

    IIRC, the walk to the base of Yosemite Falls is the longest you might "need" to make in the valley, a bit uphill to Bridalveil's base as well (in May you may not want to get all the way to the bases if you want to stay dry ;)). The main tourist areas also have paved walking/cycling trails. These are a bit "rougher" than most sidewalks but not bad. Even the main trails in these areas are pretty easy.

    A small wheeled roller cart/bag may have some trouble but something with larger wheels, like used with a golf bag would certainly roll easily enough to be useful. When we were there with little ones, we found the big wheeled "jogging" stroller worked real well, folks with the small plastic wheeled strollers had trouble with the rough, needles, sticks, roots, pine cones, etc.

    The valley altitude probably won't bother you. Glacier Point and even the Wawona area will be noticeable. I don't know if it would be good or bad luck if Glacier Point and Tioga Roads would be open. Good for pictures, bad for snow conditions. Good if you can get over to the east side and the high country.
  7. Highway 120 over Tioga pass is almost never open in May, and in fact is often not open by July 4. Call ahead if your plans call for traveling on 120 toward Tioga Pass (east out of the valley).

  8. Thanks for the great ideas everyone. It will come in handy. I do have a little folding hand truck with big wheels. I'll be sure to pack it. And I have a lens or two between my 'wide' and 'telephoto'.

    I did quite a bit of research and planned my trip around 1) the full moon; 2) waterfalls; 3) hopefully beating the big crowds by a week or so. Maybe we should plan on three full days (four nights) instead of just two (three nights).

    We figure we'll not make it to the east side that time of year. That's OK, though. I was in Lee Vining/Bodie area two years ago in October. That's a trip I'd like to do again in a couple year. The altitude there (about 8,000 feet) got to me a bit the first two days but by go-home time I was doing fine. (Isn't that how it always works?)
  9. Depending upon your budget, you might consider adding either a teleconverter or a longer lens to your bag, especially since you will be shooting from your car. It's always agravating to have a critter just out of lens reach. I'd also suggest considering the purchase of a mount that clamps to your window or even just a beanbag that you can rest the camera on. Remember to shut your car off before you shoot. It's amazing how much camera shake the car can create. If you do "purchase longer reach," take lots of tome to familiarize yourself with how slow a shutter speed you can use under what type of conditions and still get crisp images. Other than that, have a blast.
  10. "Walking up even a moderate incline" << Generally, the trails in the valley area, like up to Vernal Falls and beyond, are quite rigorous.

    The Tuolumne Meadows area (up the Tiogo Pass rd) is on relatively level ground, but the distance in to some spots is quite a ways. Still worth a visit if the road is cleared... you can never tell these days.

    Glacier Point << if at all possible, drive up there... you will get a mountain climbers view.

    Have a great time! -Greg-

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