(209) 962-4000


9 Tips for Nature Photography in Yosemite

A person taking a photo of a scenic mountain view

Before you head into Yosemite, you’ll want to know how to best capture photographically the awe-inspiring vistas you’re sure to encounter, so you can share them with your family and friends back home.  Here are some tips to help you make the most of the stunning views you will find in the Park – and beyond.

#1 – Always Have Your Camera with You

Let nature surprise and delight you!  If you don’t have your camera with you, you will miss many opportunities to capture what shows up, whether it’s a double rainbow, a mama bear and babies, or the perfect sunset.  Like a good scout, you always want to Be Prepared.

#2 – Know How to Use Your Equipment

Know the capabilities of your equipment and how to use it.  Invest in the best camera you can within your budget, don’t forget lenses and a tripod.  Whether you are using a point and shoot, or a DSLR, know how to use it!

#3 – Be Observant & Patient

Develop your “photographic eye” by noticing details, paying attention to your surroundings, looking for opportunities.

#4 – Watch the Light

Natural light is best and the best light for photos is before sunrise and late afternoon before sunset, but you can also get great lighting effects after a storm, or on a cloudy day.  Don’t miss out on those night-light shots, either.  Using long exposures in low light can get you very interesting images.

#5 – Create Composition

Get creative.  Don’t center your subject in the frame – use the “rule of thirds” by dividing your shot into vertical thirds and offset your main feature.  Build your scene around the horizon, which should be placed in the middle of your shot.  Check to see if your subject is entering your image or leaving it.  For the most powerful images capture your subjects in their natural habitat and avoid including man-made aspects in the background.

#6 – Look for Textures

Look for interesting patterns, unique objects, and unusual details. Zoom in and crop close on those aspects of your image. Sometimes a shadow pattern is more evocative than a full shot of the object, plant, or animal.

#7 – Pay Attention to Your Surroundings

Cliffs, holes, rocks, water, heat, cold – all of these elements can turn a great day into a dangerous one. Check the weather, and don’t ignore potential hazards. Wear appropriate apparel and footwear, know what you’re getting into BEFORE you go. And again, be prepared.

#8 – Respect the Landscape

Have deep respect for the landscape you are moving through. Respect the animals you are photographically engaging with. Do not disrupt nature’s rhythm. As the saying goes, “Leave only footprints, take only photos.”

#9 – Practice, Explore, Shoot, Learn, and Enjoy! 

Book a room at the Groveland Hotel, near the northern entrance into Yosemite National Park, so you’ll have easy access to early morning or late afternoon light in one of the most photogenic landscapes in the world!

The Groveland 18767 Main Street circle logo

Winter Menu

Appetizers – $15

~Fried Brussels Sprout with Sriracha Sauce

~House Made Focaccia with Marinara

~Phyllo Wrapped Baked Brie with House Focaccia

~Steak Bites with Smoked Gouda and Blue Cheese – 

Cream Sauce


Salads – $15

Cesar Salad – romaine, arugula, croutons, fresh cesar dressing
*add 4oz Chicken, Ribeye, Salmon, Shrimp + $10 
Roasted Pear Salad with Thyme Verjus Dressing – romaine, arugula, pears, blue cheese and pecans *add 4oz chicken, ribeye, salmon, shrimp + $10


~Pot Roast $35

Beer braised slow roasted beef, served with roast baby potatoes, onions, brussel sprouts and carrots

~Kobe Meatloaf $35

Meatloaf served over confit garlic mashed potatoes, seasonal vegetables and house Au Jus

~Homemade Pot Pie $25

Yes, the famous dish from our childhoods! Peppers, carrots, squash, mushrooms, onions and peas in a rich cream sauce. *add 4oz chicken, lamb, braised beef +$10

~Shepherd’s Pie $25

Peppers, onions, squash, mushrooms, peas and carrots in a savory house broth covered in mashed potatoes and smoked gouda cheese, broiled to a bubbly crispy brown

*add 4oz chicken, lamb or braised beef +$10

~Portobello Steak $25

Served with sauteed mushrooms, compound butter, smashed baby red potatoes, seasonal vegetables

*add 8oz chicken, ribeye, salmon +$20

~Mushroom Stroganoff $25

Portobello and button mushrooms sauteed with aromatics in sour cream over butter noodles

*add 4oz chicken, ribeye, salmon, shrimp +$10

~Fettuccini Alfredo $25

Fresh fettuccine and house alfredo sauce served with fresh focaccia

*add 4oz chicken, ribeye, salmon, shrimp +$10 seasonal vegetables +$5

~Spaghetti and Meatballs $25

Handmade meatballs made 50/50 with sausage and ground kobe beef cooked in house marinara, served with house focaccia

Dessert $15


Seasonal Fruit Cobbler

Black Forest Brownie

Chef’s Suggestion – Ala Mode +$5 


Room 110 is situated at the back of the hotel in the Annex building on the lower floor.  This cozy room features a queen bed, with a large private bathroom containing a tub/shower.  This room accommodates two guests. This is a pet-friendly room.

Accessibility Features: Entry door is 32” wide; there is an outlet within 4’ of the telephone jack; the door lock is located 44” from the floor; there is more than 36” of room to the right side of the bed; hangers are located 53” off the ground.  Currently, the door handle is a historic twist knob, but we are working with our locksmith to replace this with a levered handle that can easily be operated with one hand and without tight grasping, pinching or twisting the wrist.

The bathroom has room to do a t-turn; the toilet seat is 18” off the ground and has a grab bar located behind the toilet; the wash basin is 30” off the ground with insulated pipes; the wash basin faucet is easy to operate with one hand without tight grasping, pinching or twisting of the wrist; the towel racks are 46” off the floor; the bathroom floors are slip resistant.  There are no grab bars on an adjacent wall in the bathroom for the toilet as there is not an adjacent wall to place them on. 

The tub has faucet controls positioned at the center of the end wall and open side of the tub; faucet can easily be turned on and off with one hand without tight grasping, pinching or twisting the wrist; there is a grab bar at the foot of the tub and at the head of the tub; and there are two 40” grab bars alongside the tub to serve for low and high needs.  The fixtures in the bathtub are historic and therefore we do not have a 60” hand held shower wand.

Due to the historic nature of our property, our rooms are fairly small, therefore we are unable to provide 36” around both sides and the foot of the bed.  However, we do provide full clearance between the door and the right side of the bed.

You can book this room online or please call us 24 hours/7 days a week at 209-962-4000 or email us at guestservices@groveland.com and we would be happy to find the room that most meets your needs.  

Pet Friendly

Your search for pet-friendly vacation lodging near Yosemite National Park ends here.  Our four-legged guests love the Groveland Hotel as much as our two-legged ones!  We’re happy to offer select pet-friendly rooms, located on the first floor, for your stay in Groveland, California.  The pet fee is $75 per reservation, with a limit of one pet per guest.  We welcome pets 60 lbs or less.

For dog-friendly activities near the Groveland Hotel, we recommend a walk along the Hetch Hetchy Railroad or going for a refreshing dip in the pet-friendly Rainbow Pools swimming hole.  If you are heading into Yosemite National Park, check their website for pet rules and restrictions.

Looking for a local dog sitter/boarder where you can keep your dogs for the day while exploring Yosemite?  There is a great nearby facility called Big Creek Boarding.