Yosemite, sunrise/sunset

Discussion in 'Nature' started by robd, May 8, 2000.

  1. I will be heading to Yosemite in the middle of June (14 & 15). I have
    been reading all of the archives as well as web sites and books that
    I can get my hands on. The downside to the trip, besides traveling
    with a group of non photographers, is that I will have less then 2
    days at the park. ( After all that I've read in the last few days I
    think I could spend 3 weeks there, easy, doing nothing but
    photography, but I digress.) Anyway, with our schedule it looks like
    I will get only 1 sunrise and 1 sunset at the park with no time for
    scouting out locations in advance (except thru reading). If you can
    share your favorite Yosemite location for sunrise and sunset I would
    appreciate it. Since these will probably be the only times I get to
    really concentrate on photography, (while the non photogs are asleep)
    I want to try to make the most out of it. All suggestions are greatly


  2. Rob,

    Sunset is kind of tough since there are so many places. There's the bridge with the classic view of Half Dome that's been done to death. There's the tunnel view, a classic Ansel Adams shot. Valley View is also a good shot, but again, this is a classic. I must say, though, that I'm partial to sunset from Glacier Point. You'll find a crowd of photographers there, however, so arrive a little early to get a good spot. It's hard to find a spot in the valley that hasn't been photographed extensively.

    Sunrise has always been tougher for me. El Cap is good at either sunrise or sunset since it has both an east and west face, and there are a number of places to photograph it, either from one side or dead on.

  3. Yes, too many choices is the problem that I'm having. Thanks for your input, I appreciate it.
  4. Yosemite Falls is good in the morning.
  5. With only one sunrise and sunset your best bet is Sentinel Dome. It has a commanding view of the valley. You can capture Halfdome, El Capitan, Yosemite Falls and, of course, the famous Jeffrey Pine from there. Drive up Glacier Point Rd. until the Sentinel Dome parking lot. It's an easy 30-45 minute hike from there, mostly flat but at a high elevation. Take at least one quart of water and some snacks with you.

    If you can drag the non-photogs along, be sure to visit the base of Bridalveil Fall around 5 p.m. There will be a circular rainbow in the spray from the fall. Wear waterproof clothing and leave the camera in the car. Yosemite Falls is good around 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. when you can capture a rainbow on film without getting too wet.

    Remember to get up early (real early) for sunrise shots. First light on Halfdome will be about 4:30 a.m. If you're really lucky there will be clouds in the sky. You can get closeup shots of the Merced River between the Horse Stables and Happy Isles until about 9 a.m., then the sun will come into that part of the valley and be too contrasty for good shots.

    May the light be with you.
  6. Rob, I have many favorite locations in Yosemite,it is with out doubt one of the most beautiful places on this planet. I thought you may appreciate this book just in case you may have missed it. the author Andrew Hudson has done all the scouting for you. Its called PhotoSerets YOSEMITE. The best sights and how to photograph them. Great book! It's available at most camera stores. Hope you enjoy. have a great trip. Dan
  7. With time for one sunrise and one sunset only, I would suggest:
    Sunrise: Yosemite falls from Cook's meadow (or along the Merced river)
    Sunset: El Capitan from Devil's elbow (or from Gates of the Valley)
    I also have a book suggestion; Illustrated guide to Yosemite Valley by
    Virginia and Ansel Adams. It is out of print but should be easy to
    find in the library or a used book store.
  8. Actually, the book you want is:

    Illustrated guide to Yosemite; the valley, the rim, and the central Yosemite Sierra, and mountain photography by Virginia Adams

    This edition of the book has many recommendations by Ansel Adams himself as to where to photograph and when, as well as, specific technical recommendations for large format, black and white photographers. The edition previously mentioned is close, but it doesn't have all of Ansel Adam's photographic recommendations.
  9. Halfdome from below vs Halfdome from the Glacier Point are is a tough call at sunset. It's a cliche for a reason. You would probably have less trouble finding a spot from the point or the overlooks in the vicinty. The classic bridge shots are apt to require staking out early. Allow me to suggest another venue that might be out of consideration due to travel time. Tenaya Lake, shooting across the lake from the west to the east should give good color at sunset on the formations there. Also the Rostrum is just a little further out the road from the Wawona tunnel and gives a slightly different angle up valley. Sunrise? I'd agree the valley floor towrds Yosemite Falls is pretty good as well. Just don't stayed glued into your viewfinder wherever you are
  10. Last time I was able to concentrate on Yosemite valley at sunrise I found a few good spots, all of them on the north valley road. The first is a magnificent view of El Capitan from the road. I found a spot with only the top of El Capitan lit by sunrise (look west from the road) framed by trees. This was in early June at about 5:30 am. Nice light. Expose for the details on the rock face and let the deep shadows fall where they will.

    Another good spot was up the road a bit. The sun backlighting trees and rock faces and shining of the Merced was exquisite. Once again, expose for highlights and let the deep shadows fall wherever they happen to. The light is your subject.

    Finally in the meadow across from the Yosemite Lodge you get a grand view of Yosemite falls. An averaged multispot exposure is probably best. The falls at this time of day are in shadow, while surrounding walls are in sunlight. This is a tricky exposure, DO NOT trust matix metering to get the right exposure.

    Finally, the top of Glacier Point provides a magnificent sunrise spot. You need a lens which handles flare well, though. The best shots are east facing towards Half Dome. Cheap zooms need not apply for this shot.

    BTW, Mirror Lake is good anytime of day, but it is especially nice at sunrise and sunset.

    Happy shooting.

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