Photographing Yosemite (Valley) National Park

Yosemite is one of the many meccas for photography in the United States of America that must be visited by any one who is passionate about photography.

When to Visit

Simply put, avoid the summer because of the crowds. If the summer is the only time available to visit then plan ahead as campgrounds and accommodations become booked early. Book through

yosemite valley
early morning photographers (off season)

Probably the best seasons for photography are the winter and spring for the dramatic storms that roll in. In the spring, all waterfalls are most active from the snow melt. The park does not have large deciduous forests like the Aspens of the Rocky Mountains or the Maples of the East, so autumn does not offer the colors one might expect but there are changes at hand to be a witness to.

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half dome from the valley, f=50mm

Gear to Bring

Because the valley is so small and surrounded by cliffs, long lenses really are not very useful unless photographing wildlife. A good range is 24-120mm on a full frame camera or 16-80mm on an APS-C sized sensor. Some styles of photography may accommodate a wider or narrower angle, but generally, this range is a solid choice particularly if hiking a lot.

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a side (180°) of the yosemite valley

Outside of the valley, a 200mm or longer zoom is useful, but in the valley an 85mm will allow for photographing of the tame deer, chipmunks and such. A water proof tripod is a good idea, but any tripod will do. A bright LED flashlight will be useful for hiking back to camp after capturing the sunset at various points throughout the park. Finally, a polarizer is always a good idea because, if the light is right, it saturates the colors.

Becareful not to photograph with too wide of an angle. Here a 24mm lens was used on "tunnel view" which made the most interesting parts of the image very small. The trees overwhelm the image.

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tunnel view, f=24mm (too wide)
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tunnel view, f=50mm
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yosemite falls, f=50mm

Cellphone Service

AT&T cell service is available in the village.

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