Dogwoods Have Arrived

Dogwoods over the Merced River at sunset, Yosemite NP, CA, USA

Dogwoods over the Merced River at sunset, from last spring

The last time I was in Yosemite Valley was just over a week ago, and only a few dogwood blossoms had appeared by then. I returned to the valley yesterday, and found that the dogwoods had fully emerged already. This is one of the earliest blooms I can remember, but that’s not terribly surprising with the warm and dry spring we’ve had.

Although the flowers will last a couple of weeks, they’re most photogenic when new and fresh, so they’re near peak now. The valley is quite beautiful, with lots of fresh, bright-green leaves everywhere, the waterfalls flowing – and of course the dogwoods. The waterfalls will peak early this year, probably by early May, if not sooner, but for the moment it seems like a pretty normal spring.

Meanwhile, there are still some nice poppy displays in the eastern end of the Merced River Canyon, near El Portal, but they’re fading fast and will probably be mostly gone by next weekend. It’s been a great year for poppies though – one of the best I’ve seen. There will be a variety of other flowers blooming in the canyon for awhile, but these typically aren’t found in big patches, so they’re more suited to closeups rather than broader views.

I start a five-day workshop with The Ansel Adams Gallery today, and then will be heading to North and South Carolina right after that, but I wanted to give you a quick update first. I’ll post further updates and photos when I can! This is one of my favorite dogwood images from last spring.

— Michael Frye

Did you like this article? Click here to subscribe to this blog and get every new post delivered right to your inbox!

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.

Tags: , , ,

12 Responses to “Dogwoods Have Arrived”

  1. Julie says:


    Thank you for much for insightful posts on Yosemite. I am traveling at the end of May and was wondering (in your opinion), if there are any flowers left blooming after Memorial Day. I guess we will have to see regarding waterfalls, since the winter and spring were very dry.

    Again, thank you for all the posts and presentation you gave the other day for Google+ Landscape photography community.

    • Michael Frye says:

      Julie, there are likely to be some flowers blooming in the meadows in Yosemite Valley at the end of May, but not large swaths of them, more like individual flowers or small groups. There could be irises, azaleas, and cow parsnip. The waterfalls will be diminishing – unless we get some big deluges between now and then – but still flowing. And thanks – glad you enjoyed the Landscape show.

  2. Ann says:

    Have a wonderful time teaching your classes in my favorite NP! Looks like you hit gold this week with the changes in our weather that should provide you with all kinds of creativity and experiences for your students. Looking forward to your next blog and photos.

  3. Very interesting contrast with the movement of the water and the stillness of the branch! The dogwoods in my neck of the woods have already bloomed and gone. They were amazing to photograph, as they are every year. Thanks for keeping all of us recent on your activities!

  4. Hi Michael,
    Thanks for your insightful blogs and updates. Was planning a trip in mid-May for the dogwoods, just changed it to next week. Was planning on hiking to Mirror Lake. Is this a good spot for dogwoods?
    Thanks again. Please keep up your good work.

  5. James says:

    Mike thanks for the requested update! Hopefully this storm will slow the blossoms as I will be in Yos in about a week! Thanks buddy :)

Leave a Reply

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.