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Thread: Popular Photogenic Sites/Locations in Yosemite NP

  1. #1

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    Popular Photogenic Sites/Locations in Yosemite NP

    Everything was booked and reserved in Yosemite NP and also fully vaccinated. Ready to go!
    I am wondering where I should take LF pictures and which lens I should use in each site/location when I am inside Yosemite. Please share your Yosemite NP photography experience. Thanks!

  2. #2
    Vaughn's Avatar
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    Re: Popular Photogenic Sites/Locations in Yosemite NP

    Try to find a copy of The Ansel Adams Guide to Yosemite. It comes complete with sample images to take and maps for locating his tripod holes. The AA Gallery is now open, so you can probably buy a copy there.

    Edited to add: Joking, of course, and I was sort of hoping the OP was, too.
    Last edited by Vaughn; 6-Apr-2021 at 18:50.
    "Landscapes exist in the material world yet soar in the realms of the spirit..." Tsung Ping, 5th Century China

  3. #3
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Popular Photogenic Sites/Locations in Yosemite NP

    Don't neglect what lies outside the Park down in the foothills Mother Lode gold country. To me, it's even more photogenic than Yosemite Valley itself. With luck, some of the Spring bloom might be left too. The more winding and lonelier the road, the better it gets.

    Opinions will vary about lenses and so forth. Some people gravitate toward wide-angle views; but I prefer longer lenses for sake of homing in on cliff details and more intimate views. And a long lens is also a nice way to avoid elbowing a crowd below the falls. There's no need to try to duplicate some post card look. Besides, the season is probably already past for any classic deep powder snows in the Valley. And the road up to Tioga Pass is generally not open until Memorial Day. It will be easy to find your own relevant details all around.

  4. #4

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    Re: Popular Photogenic Sites/Locations in Yosemite NP

    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Wiley View Post
    Don't neglect what lies outside the Park down in the foothills Mother Lode gold country. To me, it's even more photogenic than Yosemite Valley itself. With luck, some of the Spring bloom might be left too. The more winding and lonelier the road, the better it gets.

    Opinions will vary about lenses and so forth. Some people gravitate toward wide-angle views; but I prefer longer lenses for sake of homing in on cliff details and more intimate views. And a long lens is also a nice way to avoid elbowing a crowd below the falls. There's no need to try to duplicate some post card look. Besides, the season is probably already past for any classic deep powder snows in the Valley. And the road up to Tioga Pass is generally not open until Memorial Day. It will be easy to find your own relevant details all around.
    Completely agree with that last sentence. There's far too much to see there to be concerned with copying what countless others have done before.

  5. #5

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    Re: Popular Photogenic Sites/Locations in Yosemite NP

    Quote Originally Posted by Vaughn View Post
    Try to find a copy of The Ansel Adams Guide to Yosemite. It comes complete with sample images to take and maps for locating his tripod holes. The AA Gallery is now open, so you can probably buy a copy there.
    This is a good point, you know people often ask what camera St Ansel used, but rarely ask the important question of what size tripod they need to fit in his tripod holes.

    Some of the easily accessible well known vantage points are actually marked on Google maps, such as the pullout on Big Oak Flat Road with an iconic view of Half Dome (for which you may in fact want a long-ish lens). But what views are best depends on season and time of day. Water should be flowing and almost anywhere in Yosemite has something nice to look at as long as there's not a car directly in front of you.

  6. #6
    William Whitaker's Avatar
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    Re: Popular Photogenic Sites/Locations in Yosemite NP

    My experience in Yosemite lags far behind that of others. But I do have an observation to share.

    Borrowing from the mathematical definition, Yosemite is photographically dense. That is to say, that as mathematics defines dense to mean that between any two given points on the real number line, another point may be found, in Yosemite, between any two two given photographs, another photograph may be found.
    HA! And they thought I just ate the books!
    Hmmm...Could be!!

    That little revelation above came out of my experience of trying to use a wide-angle lens in Yosemite. With all that beauty abounding, I never felt so frustrated as when trying to make sense of the cornucopia before me with a lens that included just about everything... it seemed.
    What I determined then was that I needed an extra-sharp scalpel to delineate what I felt was visually important.
    Funny, though, that in a subsequent trip to Yosemite, I found my Rolleiflex to be very effective. Perhaps it was the forced restriction of having only one [taking] lens. And interesting, too, that my [I think] most satisfying and successful images came out of that encounter between the Rolleiflex, myself and the Mist Trail. Such things are possible. I feel that simplicity is important in one's approach to the complex. Life's successes are often accompanied by surprise. So, as chance favors the prepared mind, don't over-prepare it, either!

  7. #7

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    Re: Popular Photogenic Sites/Locations in Yosemite NP

    I went to Yosemite once, in 1990.
    I took a lot of photos, medium format and 35mm.
    Most were interesting ideas at the time, due to...being in Yosemite.
    After processing the film, most of my images were...well...boring. They were either cliche, or just another tree/rock/stump/shadow/whatever.
    I was inspired while I was there, but not seeing with my own eyes.

  8. #8
    Vaughn's Avatar
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    Re: Popular Photogenic Sites/Locations in Yosemite NP

    My appreciation for Yosemite began long before I started to take photographs...one of my earliest memories was getting lost in the campgrounds on our way back from seeing the Firefall off of Glacier Point. Earlier in family history, my Aunt remembered as a child taking the train to Yosemite Valley. My father, a native Californian, borrowed his dad's car and camping gear in the late 40s to take my mom on her first camping experience -- into Yosemite Valley. They had met and married in NY while my dad was in the Merchant Marine Academy('44)/Navy. When peace broke out they moved to CA...and family summers have always included Yosemite.

    While the redwoods are my backyard, Yosemite would be a second home that I don't spend summers and holidays at. Yes...there are as (if not more) spectactular places in the Sierras outside of Yosemite Valley and without the crowds. Cool. There are places and corners of the Valley I have not been to, some at my age I probably will never get to, and some I will not be able to return to. And there are images I still want to make and many yet to discover.

    So what to suggest to someone for their first time to Yosemite. Drive along the Merced River between the Park entry and the Valley. Take advantage of the turn-outs. The River is pumping -- the tree in the long image below will be surrounded by whitewater. Don't fall in. If the valley is too crowded, follow my earlier suggestion for Wawona. Hikes all over. Have fun!

    If you see my shadow, try to catch it for me...
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails MercedRiverCanyon.jpg   VaughnsShadow.jpg  
    "Landscapes exist in the material world yet soar in the realms of the spirit..." Tsung Ping, 5th Century China

  9. #9

    Re: Popular Photogenic Sites/Locations in Yosemite NP

    Quote Originally Posted by Vaughn View Post
    Try to find a copy of The Ansel Adams Guide to Yosemite. It comes complete with sample images to take and maps for locating his tripod holes. The AA Gallery is now open, so you can probably buy a copy there.

    Edited to add: Joking, of course, and I was sort of hoping the OP was, too.
    There's an app for that - https://www.anseladams.com/find-your-ansel-app/

  10. #10

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    Re: Popular Photogenic Sites/Locations in Yosemite NP

    Quote Originally Posted by William Whitaker View Post
    My experience in Yosemite lags far behind that of others. But I do have an observation to share.

    Borrowing from the mathematical definition, Yosemite is photographically dense. That is to say, that as mathematics defines dense to mean that between any two given points on the real number line, another point may be found, in Yosemite, between any two two given photographs, another photograph may be found.
    HA! And they thought I just ate the books!
    Hmmm...Could be!!

    That little revelation above came out of my experience of trying to use a wide-angle lens in Yosemite. With all that beauty abounding, I never felt so frustrated as when trying to make sense of the cornucopia before me with a lens that included just about everything... it seemed.
    What I determined then was that I needed an extra-sharp scalpel to delineate what I felt was visually important.
    Funny, though, that in a subsequent trip to Yosemite, I found my Rolleiflex to be very effective. Perhaps it was the forced restriction of having only one [taking] lens. And interesting, too, that my [I think] most satisfying and successful images came out of that encounter between the Rolleiflex, myself and the Mist Trail. Such things are possible. I feel that simplicity is important in one's approach to the complex. Life's successes are often accompanied by surprise. So, as chance favors the prepared mind, don't over-prepare it, either!
    Yup!
    My son just returned from Yosemite Valley. He reported the falls are cooking, still no skeeters but the gnats are out and no crowds during the week.
    Sounds like a perfect time to visit the valley. The foothills are loaded with poppy blossoms along 140, btw
    I steal time at 1/125th of a second, so I don't consider my photography to be Fine Art as much as it is petty larceny.
    I'm not OCD. I'm CDO which is alphabetically correct.

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