View Full Version : Mono Lake, Yosemite, Sequoias...? Which time of Year?

19-Sep-2009, 18:38
I am working on a musical film incorporating imagery with a musical documentary.

I am REALLY looking to get some surreal-ish skies, trees, sun flowing through the trees in tine lapses with my HD cameras for the film. ESP. a shot of the light coming through the beautiful trees at either Yosemite/Sequoias.

I need some help in terms of what time of year to go. I hear that Mono Lake and Yosemite are best approached in May. We had plans to try and capture the beauty of the skies flowing through the trees and the Tufas at Mono Lake somewhere between Late November and early January, but after reading on line about snow conditions (I forgot it starts early up there....) I am starting to wonder if it would make more sense to knock out both locations closer to May.

OR will that time of the year yield some interesting skies, mist, etc.

Basically, we are looking for hyper imagistic shots/time lapses to capture to incorporate into the film, and wondering if we should wait on the Nov-Jan time line and go during May or another part of the year....


BY the way - We've already knocked out Death Valley -- but f there are other locations in the mid California area that might yield certain aesthetics/landscapes that match what we are seeking, do tell as we are open to new adventures/ideas!

SO grateful - thanks in advance!

John Kasaian
19-Sep-2009, 21:03
I've seen some pretty incredible cloud formations in Lake Tahoe during winter storms---rotor clouds etc...
In Yosemite (as well as Sequoia/Kings) you can get clouds any time of the year as long as there isn't a high pressure area keeping them out. Most summers you can almost set your clock by when the thunderheads start to form. Where to capture clouds where you can see them at thier best is critical of course. I'd bet Olmstead Point on the Tioga Road would be a really cool location that's also easily accessible.
I haven't spent much time at Mono Lake so I can't commment, but I've been "up the hill" at Saddlebag Lake during a storm at it was a real hoot---clouds sailing by like aerial freight trains and the sound of the wind banging against the canyon walls was impressive. I had one of the few tents that survived intact (there was an armada of domes floating in the Lake IIRC)

For mist, Yosemite Valley in the wintertime gets some light fog on occasion---looks real cool with the trees and famous landmarks half obscured in fog. Take one of the trails up to get some elevation and the Valley floor takes on a whole new character "swimming in the soup."

Drew Wiley
20-Sep-2009, 09:42
I'd opt for Nov at Mono Lk, but you can get dramatic skies any time of year. The
problem with summer months and often into Sept/Oct is haze from pollen, forest
fires, etc. In the Winter you might not be able to get to some of the tufa formations
due to snow. But the Tioga Pass road between Yosemite and Mono Pass generally
closes around the first of Nov, so you'd have to pick a different route (Hwy 395).
All depends on the specific weather forecast. Things can change very very quickly in
late Oct and into Nov, and a deep blue sky can turn into a storm within 20 min.