Yosemite Fall Colors at Night

Merced River Fall Swirls

Earth and fall leaves rotation


Fall can be a great time to visit Yosemite National Park.  You have all of Yosemite’s usual iconic granite monoliths for subjects, ample opportunities for reflections in the Merced River, and if the timing lines up, you can time your trip to coincide with opportunities to place the moon in your compositions.

Solar Rainbow in Yosemite Valley

Image licensed for use by National Geographic

Merced River Fall Reflection

Merced River Reflection


As I describe in my guidebook “Photographing California Vol. 2 – South“, various species of trees typically turn color in different weeks, so the season can be broad, and you don’t have to hit the timing perfectly.  But like fall colors elsewhere, depending upon what compositions you want and what species are growing where you’re shooting, there will be a peak time that might last a few days.  So it is very helpful to have knowledge of what’s blooming that week, and what scenic views that week’s colorful trees grow in.

Yosemite Fall Colors

Dogwood trees in fall


Half Dome, Full MoonIn 2017 we’ll have multiple added bonuses: moon rise compositions and night photography of the colorful landscape under ample moonlight.  I’ve been anticipating moon rise compositions since 2006, so I’m getting pretty good at setting them up.  I have one in mind that would be best to hike to, another that we can easily walk to the shooting position for.

This time of year the sun sets by 6 pm, so night photography can also occur at a very civilized hour.  Like many photogenic events in national parks these days, fall colors season in Yosemite gets promoted on social media, and it is starting to get a little crowded.  Most of the visitors are tourists, and virtually none of them are out practicing night photography.  So night photography is a great way to revisit the best vistas and capture them in a new light.  Literally!

Star and Leaf Trails in Yosemite
Long night exposures also can be extended to produce star trails images, and we often pick up “leaf trails” as well.

For more samples of the types of images we can pursue, take a look at my Yosemite Fall Colors album on Flickr.  Since Yosemite is spectacular in addition to the fall colors, you might want to browse my Yosemite National Park album as well.

The fall colors workshop runs Nov 1 – 5. 2017 if you’d like to join us:
Nov 1 – 5 – Yosemite Fall Colors & Full Moon Photography – 4 days, $995

Share This:

12 thoughts on “Yosemite Fall Colors at Night

  1. うわぁ~ 綺麗❗🎶
    星がうつくしく舞い、素晴らしい風景を、ありがとうございます(^^)
    時間や日にちはわかりませんが、楽しい週末をお過ごしください。
    感謝しています🎵

    Thank you for the wonderful landscape
    very beautiful😊❗
    I don't know the date and
    time but
    Have a nice weekend🎶
    Thanks💞

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *