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Yosemite is a landscape photographer’s dream. It was here that Ansel Adams took so many of his iconic images, and where countless photographers since then have come to try and capture a little of the wonder of this place.

It’s no surprise therefore that when I was based in California that it was very high on my list of places to visit, and we finally set aside some time to do just that. I was super excited to visit, to try out some of my Vanguard VEO gear, and also more than aware I was walking in the footsteps of giants!

I’d never visited Yosemite before, and, suffice to say, my first trip blew me away. It’s just unbelievable. I hiked up past waterfalls, took in stunning vistas, watched fiery sunsets… the list goes on.

In this post I’m going to share with you some of the locations I particularly enjoyed photographing, that if you are visiting Yosemite, you should definitely add to your list. Then, at the end of this post, I’ve provided some additional resources to help you plan your trip and get the best photos when you’re there!

Nevada and Vernal Falls

The hike up to Vernal and Nevada Falls was without doubt the highlight of my time in Yosemite. Vernal Falls in particular were magnificently photogenic, and the hike was incredibly rewarding.

It’s a busy trail, especially on the way up to Vernal Falls, but I think you’ll agree that it’s worth it. The best shots are to be grabbed by getting slightly off the path so as to avoid the people – just take care as the area is usually wet and slippery – it’s not called the mist trail for nothing!

Speaking of mist, whilst all that water does create beautiful rainbows, it’ll also get all your gear wonderfully wet. You’ll want to bring plenty of wipes to dry your lens off. I also find that a sun hood can help prevent getting a lot of moisture on your lens. Timing-wise, the afternoon is when the light seemed to be best, and you’re going to want to bring along some ND filters on this trip to get those gorgeous fluffy waterfall shots.

Tunnel View

Tunnel view is a wonderful place to get oriented as to the layout of the valley, with views of El Capitan, Half Dome and Bridal Veil Falls. In fact, it’s one of the better places to get shots of Bridal Veil Falls, which you can see to the right of the shot below.

It’s a very busy location, but there’s a large car park and plenty of space for everyone. I thought it would make an excellent location for astro photography, although it was unfortunately cloudy on the evenings we were there, so I wasn’t able to test out that theory. Here’s the behind the scenes shot of me taking the above.

Glacier Point

The majority of the locations in this post are easily accessible from inside the valley, either with your own vehicle or by using the free shuttle bus that pootles around the valley floor.

Glacier point requires a bit more effort, as it’s a 30 mile drive up from the valley floor, which you can either drive yourself, or pay for the bus. Alternatively, if you’re feeling especially fit, it’s a five mile hike up from the valley, with a 3,200ft elevation gain.

However you choose to get up here, the views are entirely worth it, with spectacular panoramas across the whole valley, with waterfalls cascading all over the place and those impressive rock formations just blowing your mind.


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