Your cart is currently empty
Yosemite National Park

Autumn Colors

Light trails from passing automobiles with a bit of autumn color.

As a special treat for my birthday we decided to take a weekend journey up to Yosemite and Mono Lake to see what we could do about finding autumn colors in California. The plan was to leave late Thursday and spend Friday and Saturday exploring Yosemite before heading over to Mono Lake Saturday evening for sunsets and sunrises. Unfortunately the weather did not agree.

A scenic rainbow in the mists of Vernal Falls in Yosemite National Park

It was overcast for most of our Yosemite day, and while I was sad I couldn’t take sunset pictures with no sun I was content with my overcast waterfall and valley photos. However, overnight snowfall closed the Tioga Pass the morning we planned to drive it so that effectively ruined our plans to go to Mono Lake (talk about bad timing.)

We decided to head back down to SoCal on Saturday instead of driving around Yosemite to get to Mono Lake. We contemplated stopping by Sequoia or Kings Canyon National Parks, but with questionable weather everywhere we decided we’d try again some other time.

Looking down the peaceful Merced River with a view of Yosemite Falls.

On the bright side, I did get some good use out of my 10 stop neutral density filter I picked up a few weeks ago. Using the filter, my sad tripod, a shutter release and a nifty app on Travis’s iPhone I practiced taking long exposure shots in broad daylight. This allowed for some cool smoothing effects and also helped to remove stray people who insisted on wandering through the waterfalls. My fav shots of the trip were the long exposures light trails down the autumn road and the ones of the lake (before it got all overcast and grey).

Moody view of the Yosemite Valley from Tunnel View.

Overall it was a good first trip to Yosemite — I’d definitely like to go back sometime, perhaps in the spring when the waterfalls are flowing stronger (although I here it’s far more crowded then). I also need to get a nice shot at the Tunnel View overlook; we didn’t make our way over there until the clouds had settled in and there was no chance of seeing any of the peaks. Maybe next time we’ll actually check the weather in advance or plan to stay a few more days so we have more flexibility.


Moody views from the Mirror Lake trail in Yosemite.
Playing around with daytime long exposures in Yosemite.
Yellow leaves and a pinecone along the road through Yosemite.
Prev Crater Lake + nice surprises
Next A rare day in L.A.

Leave a comment