5 Best Places to Photograph in Yosemite National Park

Publish date:

Yosemite National Park is a photographer’s paradise, thanks to the majestic Half Dome and El Capitan. We asked Ken Hubbard, field services manager for Tamron, about his favorite angles to shoot from inside the park. 

Looking for more ideas? Hubbard is co-leading our new Night Sky Photography course, which is full of additional advice sure to improve your shots.   

1. Swinging Bridge

For incredible shots of the night sky, take a short hike to shoot from Swinging Bridge, over the Merced River (don’t worry—the bridge doesn’t actually swing). It’s not the best place to shoot the Milky Way, but “there are really nice skies going toward Yosemite Falls,” Hubbard says. Shoot the Milky Way and find a few different angles for starry night shots at the rocky banks of the Merced river, just beyond the bridge.

2. Valley View Pullout 

At sunrise, Hubbard recommends the Valley View pullout along the Merced River. “You can get Half Dome and El Capitan in the same shot here,” he says. “It just makes for a really great sunrise area.” For the most dramatic images, aim to get the reflection of sunrise on the surface of the river.

3. Sentinel Bridge

For a view of Yosemite’s grassy valley, and a shot of Half Dome with full view of the Merced River, shoot from Sentinel Bridge, which looks upstream to Half Dome. If you want to shoot sunset there, be prepared for crowds.

4 & 5. Tunnel View and Glacier Point

At sunset, Hubbard says he usually heads to Tunnel View or Glacier Point, two overlooks where you’ll find those iconic shots of El Capitan. From Tunnel View—which has perhaps the most famous view of the park—you’ll be able to see Half Dome, El Capitan, and Bridalveil Fall. Get there early to secure a good spot for your tripod.

Download a park map.

Horizontal rule
Photographer Ken Hubbard

Photographer Ken Hubbard

Ken Hubbard is the field services manager for Tamron. His portrait and landscape work has appeared in galleries nationwide and he teaches enthusiasts how to take better photos at workshops across the country.

Want to improve your game on starry nights? Sign up for our 9-part Night Sky Photography course, taught at your own pace by professional photographers André Costantini and Ken Hubbard.