Snow at Last

Sunrise from Tunnel View after a snowstorm, Yosemite NP, CA, USA

Sunrise from Tunnel View after a snowstorm, last Wednesday morning

In this dry winter, snow has been rare in Yosemite Valley, but last Tuesday night the valley got about six inches of new snow. Wednesday the skies cleared, and mist rose around the cliffs – a beautiful morning for photography.

I drove up to the park early and started at Tunnel View, then moved to several other places in the valley, and didn’t stop photographing until the sun had melted most of the snow out of the trees. It was definitely a fun morning, and I’ve included a few of my photographs here.

Apparently many other photographers were waiting for an event like this, because I saw lots of people out with cameras and tripods. It would be great to see what everyone else captured, so if you were there last Wednesday please post a link to your images in the comments!

— Michael Frye

Related Posts: Divided No More; Rainbow Weather

El Capitan reflected in the Merced River, Yosemite NP, CA, USA

El Capitan reflected in the Merced River

Snow-covered alder and reflections in the Merced River, Yosemite NP, CA, USA

Snow-covered alder and reflections in the Merced River

Snowy black oak, Yosemite NP, CA, USA

Snowy black oak

Snow-covered ponderosa pine, Yosemite NP, CA, USA

Snow-covered ponderosa pine

Black oak and young ponderosa pine, Yosemite NP, CA, USA

Black oak and young ponderosa pine

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Michael Frye is a professional photographer specializing in landscapes and nature. He is the author or principal photographer of The Photographer’s Guide to YosemiteYosemite Meditations, Yosemite Meditations for Women, and Digital Landscape Photography: In the Footsteps of Ansel Adams and the Great Masters. He has also written three eBooks: Light & Land: Landscapes in the Digital Darkroom, Exposure for Outdoor Photography, and Landscapes in Lightroom 5: The Essential Step-by-Step Guide. Michael written numerous magazine articles on the art and technique of photography, and his images have been published in over thirty countries around the world. Michael has lived either in or near Yosemite National Park since 1983, currently residing just outside the park in Mariposa, California.

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27 Responses to “Snow at Last”

  1. Cor van der Linden says:

    Wow, so beautiful..

  2. Larry Mills says:

    Glad you got some snow. I really like snowy black oak.

  3. Sameer Gauria says:

    I also like snowy black oak a lot. It’s quite arresting. I tried this locally, and I feel it would be improved if flipped horizontally (left-to-right). I am curious to hear what you think of that, and if you tried it already.

    • Michael Frye says:

      Thanks Sameer. I have too much respect for my subjects to flip them around. You wouldn’t flip Half Dome around, because people would know that it was backwards. If I flipped this tree most people wouldn’t realize it, but some people would, and more importantly, I would. This is one of my favorite trees in Yosemite, and it deserves to be portrayed as it is.

      • Sameer Gauria says:

        I totally understand that sentiment. Thanks for responding, and thanks for posting all your pictures! It’s very inspiring.

  4. Mark Brunton says:

    Great shots Michael and I too really like the Snowy Black Oak. The contrast of Black and White is quite stunning. It is too bad you are getting snow this late in the season but every little bit of water will help. Thank you very much for sharing your images it is so appreciated and your generosity in doing so goes a long way for all of us trying to improve our own images.

    Keep Well

  5. Lance Keimig says:

    I love the warm cool contrast of El Cap reflected, and the humorous juxtaposition of Black Oak, Young Pine. Wonderful. You are a hard working man Michael- an inspiration.

  6. Steven Tryon says:

    Sunning images (as always)!

  7. Howard says:


    Amazing images. With so many great places in Yosemite to take photos, and with the limited time due to the snow melting, how did you best plan your day to optimize the lighting?

    • Michael Frye says:

      Thanks Howard. I didn’t plan. I know the valley really well, of course, so as conditions changed I went where I thought there would be interesting opportunities at that moment.

  8. Greg Vaughn says:

    Wow, the snow-covered tree photos, the black oak and the ponderosa pine, are stunning.

  9. John Munno says:

    Beautiful Photos Michael, The Ponderosa is beautiful, the black and whites are wonderful, the red hues of the Merced and alder and the Tunnel View and El Capitan. All very different in their ways yet all beautiful

  10. Randy Beetle says:

    Beautiful photographs Michael! I had the pleasure of meeting you on last Wednesday morning as you were shooting Eagle Peak from the bank of the Merced River. Thank you very much for taking the time to suggest a great location to shoot that terrific mist around the peak. Here is a link to a few of my images from that morning and the evening before:

    Thanks again!

    Randy Beetle

  11. meri cate says:

    all i can say is wow. they are all so beautiful

  12. Priscilla says:

    Beautiful pictures!

  13. Aram Langhans says:

    Michael. Great shots as usual. I was there the day before, on Tuesday. Snowed the night before and we were able to hike about the valley on Tuesday, in the pouring snow. At times it really was coming down. Wandered over to the chapel for a few shots and got these:

    There is a small collection of some photos there. Since I won’t be home for another month and a half, final editing will have to wait. I find it hard to see much on my small laptop, but I think these are close enough to have you look at them.

    We left late on Tuesday because I did not want to have to chain up to get out. Not that I am not use to chaining up since we live in Yakima, but I have never chained up our little RV. Not my idea of fun. As it is, we went out 140 then south on 49 to continue our trek south. And we had to be out by Wednesday to keep a scheduled appointment.


  14. Michael Frye says:

    Thanks very much for all the comments everyone! I appreciate all the kind words. I’m in the middle of a workshop right now, but I’ll reply to everyone when I get a chance.

  15. Fabulous photographs (no reply needed :-)

    BR Karsten

  16. Vivienne says:

    Gorgeous, Michael! I love the black oak and the pine. Glad you got snow and that the snow layered as it did. While we got lots of snow this year, we also had so much wind that the snow did not stick to the trees like this.

  17. Don Mowrer says:

    Those are wonderful photographs capturing the beauty of snow in Yosemite.
    I love the color photos but the black and white photographs have really stirred my interest. The black and white photos I have seen in recent posts make me ask if you have considered conducting a black and white workshop?

    • Michael Frye says:

      Thanks very much Don. Since I don’t see a big divide between color and black-and-white photography anymore, I’m not sure I want to do a workshop specifically focused on black and white, but thanks for the suggestion.

  18. Michael Callahan says:

    Michael, Beautiful photographs. I especially like the Snowy black oak. Thank you Michael for this blog, it inspires me so much.

  19. Peter says:

    beauty of nature captured in these photos!

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