Depending on whether you want to hike or drive, you have two opportunities to get great shots. Each view offers something different and each requires different lenses. Besides your lens choice, having the right filters, using a tripod, and selecting the correct shutter speed will greatly enhance your ability to make great images of Vernal Fall.
The equipment needed to photograph Vernal Fall differs greatly depending on which viewpoint you choose. The Mist Trail requires wide-angle lenses and Washburn Point requires longer telephoto lenses. Besides lenses, you can use some filters to help you improve the images of Vernal Fall. And of course a tripod and cable release improve every image.
The lens you choose to photograph the falls depends on which shooting location you choose — the Mist Trail or Washburn Point.
For a captivating shot of Vernal Fall from the Mist Trail footbridge, use a wide-angle lens in the 14-35mm range. With this lens choice, you can include the rushing waters of the Merced River in the foreground of your image while diminishing the waterfall in the background. A normal to short telephoto lens in the 50-85mm range makes the waterfall appear larger and shows off more of the force of the fall. If you use a longer lens (100-400mm), you can fill the frame with the rushing waters of the fall to show its enormous power. From this one location, you can get very different ...