Yosemite Valley Fall Colors

Early November is fall color season in Yosemite National Park. Since last year’s winter was very dry, most waterfalls have dried up and the rivers are running very low. Maybe that’s the reason this beautiful park is not crowded anymore. Now is a great time to visit!

I was in Yosemite about the same time last year and enjoyed the sunrise next to my beloved elm tree. I couldn’t resist to stop by once more.

Elm tree with Half Dome
Elm tree with Half Dome

One of the projects for this weekend was to create some star trails images. Unfortunately, the moonrise was around 9pm which left little time to capture the dark sky. This meant at the same time that we could see the setting moon in the morning. After the stop at Cooks Meadow with the elm tree, I headed to the south side of the valley to get El Capitan and the moon in one shot. Due to the moving clouds, the moon was sometimes well camouflaged. But I got the following shot where the moon is nicely separated from the clouds.

El Capitan with setting moon
El Capitan with setting moon

An other subject that I hadn’t captured so far was the Yosemite Valley Chapel. I checked it out in the morning and wasn’t pleased with what I saw. I didn’t even pull out my camera! But I went back there in the afternoon and the scenery looked so much different. The maple tree behind the chapel was backlit by the sun and was glowing.

Yosemite Valley Chapel
Yosemite Valley Chapel

The colorful trees really stand out when they are back-lit or side-lit. Here in the El Capitan meadow, the back side was already in the shade and the light on the maple tree lasted only a few minutes more.

El Capitan meadow
El Capitan meadow

Here is an other example of back-lit trees. It is a totally different scene with the added sunburst. These are the oak trees on the western side of the El Capitan meadow.

Oak trees with sunburst glowing in the light
Oak trees with sunburst glowing in the light

Higher up the mountain, the color scheme changed. In the valley, the dogwoods were just starting to turn, but up here they were already deep red.

Yosemite fall colors
Yosemite fall colors

Despite the lack of deep reds, the entire Yosemite Valley is very picturesque with the Merced running in the middle, providing plenty of options to play with reflections. I really enjoy walking along this river and discovering new points of view like this one with Half Dome.

Half Dome with fall colors and reflection
Half Dome with fall colors and reflection





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3 thoughts on “Yosemite Valley Fall Colors”

  1. Thanks for sharing your wonderful photos and your trip info, Daniel. I’ll be there this weekend. Hopefully, the chill and wind in the next 2 days won’t damage too much of the color.

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