Half Dome is hard to miss in Yosemite as it can dominate the skyline from Tunnel View all the way to Olmstead Point. As you drive into the valley it just keeps getting bigger and bigger. Here are some of my favorite locations to capture this iconic rock formation.
My favorite time and place to photograph Half Dome is at sunset on the Sentinel Bridge (I am not the only one). It can be very crowded at sunset. We were there for Fall color so the Merced river was running very slowly, not like it does in the Spring time. It is a great location to capture a reflection and the last bit of sunlight glow on the Half Dome.
My second favorite location on the valley floor is Cook’s Meadow. It’s especially ideal if it is crowded. There is ample parking and the meadow is large. It also has just a few trails as most of the meadow is protected from foot traffic. If you are shooting in the middle of the day, remember to try black and white as well as color images.
The Ahwahnee Meadow is near the end of the valley and is bordered by Ahwahnee Road and Northside Road. There is plenty of room to roam and find foreground subjects to add into your photograph of Half Dome or a great place to zoom in on the rock itself.
Best Location NOT on the Valley Floor
If you have the time and inclination, then the best close-up view of Half Dome is from Glacier Point. It’s an hour’s drive from Yosemite Village and usually very crowded at sunset, so be prepared and get there early.
Take a look at this blog post to see more locations to photograph sunset in Yosemite – Three Sunsets in Yosemite.