Half Dome at sunset.
Half Dome at sunset as seen from Tunnel View through a long lens.

Since I first became interested in photography, Yosemite has been on my list of places to visit. I’ve now been there three times, for a total of about 10 days, and I know I’ve only scratched the surface of this incredible place.

My last time there, I had only a day and a half, as it was an unscheduled trip I made when I found I had some extra time on a business trip. Most people, when visiting, never get out of the Valley, the main area where many of the iconic features of Yosemite, such as El Capitan, Half Dome, and Yosemite Falls can be seen. It truly is breathtaking there. But on this last trip, while I didn’t get to locations outside the valley, such as Tuolumne Meadows, I did manage to visit some lesser known locations and get some amazing images.

I arrived in the afternoon on a Saturday and found myself a spot to photograph Half Dome over the Merced River. It’s a bit of a different angle than the more commonly seen ones and I was happy with the images. The next morning though, for sunsrise, I wanted to try and find a place I hadn’t been before.  I’d photographed sunrise from Valley View along the Merced River, from Cook’s Meadow, and from Glacier Point. This time, I decided I would make the mile hike in the dark to the top of Sentinel Dome and photograph from there.  While the hike in the dark was a bit unsettling since I’d never been there, I managed to find my way to the summit in a reasonable amount of time.  I was not disappointed.

View from the top of Sentinel Dome at sunrise.
View from the top of Sentinel Dome at Sunrise.

The sun rising over the Sierras is an incredible sight, and from Sentinel Dome, one of the highest elevations in Yosemite, it becomes even more incredible. The rocky top of Senitnel Dome features few trees, along with the withering husk of the jeffrey pine made famous by Ansel Adams long ago. I made several excellent images I was very happy with.

El Capitan viewed from Taft Point.
Half Dome at sunset as seen from Tunnel View through a long lens.

After that, I decided to hike the mile to Taft Point, another new location for me. It features an elevated view of El Capitan and Yosemite Falls. A little nerve wracking due to the height of the point and the lack of any restraining wall or railings, but an incredible sight well worth photographing. I feel like it might make an excellent location at sunset also.

I finished the day with the classic location Tunnel View. While it’s often photographed, it is always stunning and worth a visit from any photographer. On this day we were treated to a show as a storm moved across the far end of the valley giving dramatic skies and colors.

If you’d like to join me on my next trip to Yosemite, I am leading the excursion for Worldwide Photo Tours in May. More information is available here.

Tunnel View
A storm moves across the far end of Yosemite Valley from Tunnel View.
El Capitan
El Capitan from along the Merced River, just after sunrise.
The Merced River
A view of the Merced River in Yosemite National Park.
Upper Yosemite Falls
Upper Yosemite Falls

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