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Author Topic: Yosemite in October and November  (Read 4839 times)
Dan Sroka
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« on: July 21, 2003, 01:49:26 PM »
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I've only been to Yosemite once, but it was in the beginning of November. It was gorgeous. Getting that last in the season, you have to watch out for snow. And the waterfalls have slowed down. But the feeling of fall in the mountain air is great.
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Hank
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« Reply #1 on: July 24, 2003, 11:48:36 AM »
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I endorse both the timing of your trip and Frye's book.  The only change I would make is to lengthen your stay in hopes of catching a storm.

Hank
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photodad
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« Reply #2 on: July 26, 2003, 10:21:38 PM »
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Although I haven't been to Yosemite in fall, I've been in spring and summer and have enjoyed it immensely in both seasons. Summer, with the crowds and flat, cloudless skies is arguably the worse season for photography, and yet I just got back from a trip earlier in July and found many wonderful photographic opportunities. Looking over my photos, my wife commented "I guess it's basically impossible to take a bad photograph in Yosemite." (not that she expected me to take bad photographs, there just were remarkably few we wanted to trash.)

One of my favorite hikes is to take the Panorama trail. It's easiest going down hill. You can take the bus from the Valley to the top of Glacier Point, and then walk 8.5 miles mostly downhill along a ridge with dramatic views of the Valley and Half Dome, then past Illouette, Nevada, and Vernal Falls. I've done a fair bit of backpacking in the Sierras, and I think it one of the most spectacular hikes anywhere. (You can also hike up the Panorama trail from Happy Isles to Glacier Point, then snake down the steep Four Mile trail back to the Valley floor).

Before my visit this summer, I found several books at Amazon about photographing Yosemite. Others on this site have said "f8 and be there" and I think that *being there* is key. If you enjoy the challenge of trying to make "postcard quality" images, arming yourself before hand with the knowledge of where to be and when can be invaluable. My son and I enjoyed planning for each day where we wanted to be for sunrise and sunset.

I also enjoyed meeting other photographers there. I spent a while talking with one whose hobby was to study the work of Ansel Adams, then return to the places from which Adams had made his images and then make his own interpretations of the same scenes. He had spent years following in Adams footsteps and had many insights that I was glad he shared.

My favorite place to stay is Yosemite Lodge. The Awahnee is beautiful but pricey; Camp Curry is a bit rustic -- I like the comfort of the Lodge, but perhaps I'm just becomming a softey.
Have a great trip. I am sure you'll enjoy yourself.
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SteveGill
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« Reply #3 on: November 01, 2003, 06:32:22 PM »
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Many thanks for all the tips folks. I spent an enjoyable time in Yosemite, before moving onto Mono Lake and Death Valley.

I attach a photo to say thanks (hope this is OK) - taken from Taft point.

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SteveGill
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« Reply #4 on: July 21, 2003, 11:09:23 AM »
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I am planning on spending 3 weeks in California over late October/early November. Can anyone advise whether this is a good time to visit Yosemite, where to stay, websites to visit? I'm not adverse to a bit of walking (climbing mountains in Scotland you can experience all 4 seasons in the same day).

Due to taking the 1Ds and lots of lenses I will have no spare space in my rucksack. Therefore my better half will need to carry the water, spare clothing, rations etc
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Brad Hiltbrand
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« Reply #5 on: July 24, 2003, 11:16:49 AM »
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Late Fall is an excellent time to photograph Yosemite valley. Because it is at 4000 feet, there are plenty of deciduous trees creating wonderful color. The crowds are gone, and the oaks and cottonwoods will be in full autumn color. Sunset light on Half Dome and El Capitan is about as good as it gets all year.

If you have never been there before, get Michael Frye's book "The Photographer's Guide to Yosemite" before you go and plan the locations and time of day for photographs ahead of time. The book gives very detailed information about specific locations at different times of year and will prove useful to all Yosemite photographers even if you are very experienced with the park. Definitely go the the Ansel Adams gallery and ask about particular locations that are good when you are there.

Most valley photography will not require strenuous hiking. Snow is possible at higher elevations and evenings are quite cool. The Glacier point and Tioga Pass roads are usually closed for the season by the end of November, but you should have no trouble. There will be no end of photogaphic opportunities in the valley itself, but spending an evening at sunset up on Sentinel Dome or at Glacier Point will be well worth the drive. The Alpenglow on the High Sierra's to the East is fantastic that time of year. If you want to take a short hike to a less commonly photographed location, hike out to Taft point (about 4 miles) from Summer Meadow near Badger Pass for wonderful views of the valley from the rim at 8000 feet. Make sure to have a good headlamp and a compass for the return hike if you are doing it in the dark after sunset.

Have a great trip!
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Lisa Nikodym
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« Reply #6 on: July 24, 2003, 10:21:27 PM »
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I've been to Yosemite many times at all times of year, and, sadly, autumn is pretty much the worst time (at least in my opinion).  Winter and early spring have beautiful snow, late spring and early summer have the waterfalls going strong, but in late summer and autumn the waterfalls are greatly reduced and, while there is some fall color, it's relatively limited compared with many other parts of the country (yes, there's some, but nothing like New England).  At least you'll miss the summer zoo-like crowds...

Still, it's stunningly beautiful.  If you're in the area, see it anyway.  Just come back some other time of year too to really see it at its best...  (My spouse and I joke that the only way to take a bad photo in Yosemite Valley is to stand behind a bus!)

Where to stay: The lodgings inside the park fill up very very early (for most of them, call a *year* ahead!).  There are a number of decent motels (even some excellent motels) in the small towns just outside the park, though, where you can get short-notice reservations or even rooms without reservations at all.  The closest town to Yosemite Valley is El Portal (which is still something like 20-30 minutes from the valley).  That works.

Just bring good insect repellant if you plan to be out taking photos around the meadows around sunrise or sunset, or you'll get eaten alive!  (I recently relearned THAT lesson...)

Lisa
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Lisa Nikodym
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« Reply #7 on: July 27, 2003, 09:55:40 AM »
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I wholeheartedly agree with  "photodad" that the Panorama Trail is probably the best - however, my memory is that it is somewhat longer (more like 10-12 miles?).  Could be wrong, though - check a map to make sure if you're not up to that much mileage.

I also agree with Brad that, if the Glacier Point Road is still open then, Taft Point is the other "must do".

Be sure to leave some time for just wandering about the valley floor, though - plenty of gorgeous views just from there, and no work!

I also agree with "photodad" that Yosemite Lodge is the best place to stay if you can get in and are aren't into "rustic" accomodations.  However, at least in late spring (which is when I most often go), you really have to call a year in advance to get a room, so don't get your hopes up.  That's why I recommended El Portal (or other towns just outside the park) instead.

Lisa
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Henry W
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« Reply #8 on: November 02, 2003, 06:32:08 PM »
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Great discussion.

One aspect that especially intrigues me is specific locations for certain times of day, especially sunrise or sunset. Is there any reliable info published or do any of you have specific ideas? Any help is appreciated.

Thanks...Henry
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