O'Reilly logo

Photographing Yosemite: Digital Field Guide by Lewis Kemper

Stay ahead with the world's most comprehensive technology and business learning platform.

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required

8.3. How Can I Get the Best Shot?

As you can see, Half Dome can be seen from many different locations in the park. Choose the view closest to your location and prepare for an afternoon-to-sunset photographic experience.

8.3.1. Equipment

Because you can see Half Dome from so many vantage points, you can use every lens you own when photographing this landmark! Having your polarizing filter, tripod, and cable release handy improves your images.

8.3.1.1. Lenses

What lens you use depends on the specific location.

8.3.1.1.1. The Ahwahnee Meadow and Sentinel Bridge

From both of these locations, lenses in the 24-35mm range are sufficient to frame Half Dome and still fit a foreground element in your frame. In the meadow, you can find small trees to use as a foreground. From the bridge, you want to frame the image to capture the reflection of the rock face in the Merced River below. You can use longer lenses if you want to zoom into the face of Half Dome and compress the distant trees as your foreground.

8.3.1.1.2. Mirror Lake

At Mirror Lake, Half Dome towers over you so high that you have to lift your head to see the top. You must point your camera up at this location; wide-angle to normal lenses are necessary to frame the dome. If you have a tilt-shift lens, this is the place to use it!

8.3.1.1.3. Columbia Point

Columbia Point is located approximately 1.5 miles from the start of the Upper Yosemite Falls Trail. It is a steep climb up a series of switchbacks to a rewarding view overlooking ...

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, interactive tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required