On day three we’ll be up and at ‘em early for a pre-dawn drive to Valley View for epic sunrise reflection shots of El Capitan, Bridalveil Fall, and Cathedral Rocks with the Merced River in the foreground.
After our sunrise photography session we’ll spend the day hiking the nuances of Yosemite Valley. This will be an easier day on foot and we’ll spend some quality time on photographic instruction and rest up for the evening’s session at Tunnel View and a big day tomorrow.
This evening we’ll head to Tunnel View which has arguably one of the best sunset spots in all of Yosemite. This incredible vista popularized by Ansel Adams is an iconic image that we will spend some time getting just right. From the vantage at Tunnel View you can see El Capitan, Bridalveil Falls, Cathedral Rocks and Half-Dome.
After Tunnel View we’ll head over and depending on the season (spring is best) we’ll see if we can’t find and photograph a moonbow over at Lower Yosemite Falls! The exact itinerary on this day may be swapped around depending on the lighting and cloud cover so we can ensure you get optimal lighting conditions for your imagery.
“Hiker” Itinerary: 4-5 miles, minimal elevation gain.
We’ll begin today with a pre-dawn drive to Olmsted Point, one of the best locations to photograph Yosemite in the morning light. The view west from Olmsted Point, down Tenaya Canyon toward Yosemite Valley, provides a unique and striking perspective of Half Dome. Foreground opportunities include glacial erratics (boulders deposited by retreating glaciers), round indentations that fill with water after a rain, linear grooves, very unique trees, and even a few wildflowers if we’re lucky. We’ll climb to the top of the dome at Olmsted Point and look east to see Tenaya Lake, Mt. Conness, and many other High Sierra peaks. To the west is Cloud’s Rest, just left of Half Dome; across Tenaya Canyon, facing Half Dome, is serene Mt. Watkins.
After a late breakfast we’ll drive to our trailhead along the Tioga Pass Road for a hike to Cathedral Lake. This is an excellent hike into the high country that will position us for some wonderful late afternoon photography. Our destination is upper Cathedral Lake – a stunning alpine lake in lovely granite meadows with Cathedral Peak towering above it. In the right light this can be one of the most dramatic images in all of Yosemite.
After a great day photographing in the field it’s back to the Lodge for a much deserved gourmet dinner, rest and relaxation!
“Hiker” Itinerary: seven miles, 1000 feet elevation gain. Easier options are possible.
This morning we’ll head up to photograph Upper Yosemite Falls from the Swinging Bridge. This is an excellent viewpoint that tends to get its best light mid-morning and features stunning reflections and dramatic views of the Upper Falls. After photographing this location we’ll hike the falls, which is one hike you’ll never forget!
The Upper Yosemite Falls Trail promises a challenging, steep work out with up-close views of North America’s highest waterfall and panoramic views of Yosemite Valley. Beginning at Camp 4, the legendary epicenter of Yosemite’s big wall climbing era, the trail ascends numerous switchbacks to Columbia Point, where Half Dome dominates an awe-inspiring view of Yosemite Valley. Beyond the point, the impressive Upper Yosemite Falls comes into view, offering a refreshing spray of mist along with the thundering sight of tons of water dropping straight down 1430 ft. After climbing switchbacks through a break in the Valley wall, the trail tops out on the rim in a forest of impressive Jeffrey pines. Here we will photograph Yosemite Falls from above in the beautiful evening light before heading back down the trail.
“Hiker” Itinerary: five miles, 1400 feet elevation gain. Easier options are possible.
Today’s hike takes us into Yosemite’s biggest trees – the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoia trees. After some important photographic instruction regarding photographing these early giants we’ll hike the lower and upper loops snapping shots of Wawona Valley and the 2700 year old Grizzly Giant tree, as well as getting in-depth photographs of several other Giant Sequoia trees in the grove. This will be our final stop in Yosemite. We’ll leave this once-in-a-lifetime adventure with unforgettable memories, enhanced landscape photography skills, and digital cards full of stunning images!
“Hiker” Itinerary: 4 miles, 500 feet elevation gain.
Please note that the exact sequence of the itineraries on all photography trips will be based on weather and lighting conditions. The goal on these trips is to make sure we are at the right place at the right time for the perfect light on our subjects. Also, itineraries can change for a variety of other circumstances including floods, forest fires, national park closures, road closures and more. Due to the nature of wildlife and nature photography we do not guarantee any specific sightings or specific compositions regarding wildlife or natural phenomena.