Mirror Lake, named for its clear reflections is located in Yosemite Valley directly below Half Dome. This isn’t a very good place to photograph Half Dome since the immense rock appears very distorted from this angle, but there are several nice subjects that can be photographed like a reflection of Mt. Watkins. The image above was taken in May 2008. Although not photographed at the most ideal time (1:45 PM) I was at least able to position the sun behind the trees in the upper right of the frame.
Over the years Mirror Lake has been slowly filling with sediment brought by Tenaya Creek, but it still nicely reflects Mt. Watkins in the spring and early summer. By autumn, the lake is almost completely dry and this image isn’t possible unless the valley has gotten a fair amount of rain. In 1935 Ansel Adams photographed this same scene. At that time there was a lot of water in the lake and the rocks you see on the left side weren’t visible at all in Ansel’s image. The trees weren’t nearly as tall either so more of Mt. Watkins was visible. If you’re in Yosemite Valley, be sure to take the time to visit Mirror Lake. It’s a very peaceful place and you’ll be glad you went.
I reprocessed the image recently and created a black and white version that you see below.
You can see more of my photography of Yosemite National Park in my Yosemite National Park gallery here.
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