Photographing Yosemite In Winter

February 10, 2019

Yosemite In Winter Photograph

To look down Yosemite Valley as you emerge from the Route 41 tunnel is like stepping into full-sensory enironmental display. The sheer scale of the granite formations before you invoke a certain humbleness. After gazing at them for a few minutes you can’t help but imagine the glacier that moved down the valley carving one beautiful monolith after the next. As the naturalist John Muir wrote, “It is by far the grandest of all the special temples of Nature I was ever permitted to enter.”

This week I took the chance and drove up to Yosemite to capture photographic worthy scenes created by a storm that dropped up to six feet of snow on the park. The storm started on a Sunday evening and all visitors staying in the park were snow-bound in the valley for nearly three days as crews worked to open the roads. I was fortunate enough to arrive just as the park rangers started allowing outside traffic into the park at Wednesday noon.

My plan was all around getting to the Tunnel View location to photograph the storm clouds clearing from the valley. I was not disappointed and was able to catch a spectacular scene. I was not so lucky in subsequent returns to Tunnel View as any magical light from sun rises and sunsets was blocked by cloud cover. 

The beautiful Merced River snakes through Yosemite Valley creating beautiful shooting locations, many with an awesome backdrop like El Capitain which you can see below. This is a wonderful place to shoot and it’s even better in winter when snow conditions and few visitors turn the place into a serene cathedral.

Yosemite Valley pines photography

A stand of pines near the Yosemite Falls trail head.

Granite peak Yosemite photography

Granite peak near El Capitan.

Merced River near Swinging Bridge Yosemite photograph

The Merced River near Swinging Bridge.

El Capitan and Merced River

The Merced River with El Capitan in the background.


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Merced River with snowy trees

Snow encrusted trees lining the Merced River.

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