Location Guide: The Lakes Basin

Welcome to Mammoth Lakes! If you’re born and raised here or just visiting for the first time, odds are you’re going to head to the Lakes Basin during your visit. Why? Because the Lake Basin in Mammoth Lakes is an incredible place for exploring! There are lakes to fish in, trails to hike on, and rocks to climb.

This is why I recommend this as a location for taking photos! Are you a family with littles that would love to see a fish or play on a bridge? Are you a couple who wants to rent SUP boards and take photos on a lake? There’s something for everyone.


Each season offers something different and parts of the Lakes Basin are accessible year round (yes! even during winter!). As I write this it is summer and the Lakes Basin offers shade from the sun and a cool lake to check out. During the spring there are wild flowers along the trails and perfect temperatures for being outside. If you are coming during the fall you’ll be able to experience the changing aspens and epic sunsets. In the winter the lakes freeze over and offer an even more enchanting backdrop to your photos.

Looking for winter activities that don’t include skiing? I’ve got you covered!

Time of Day

When planning to take photos of people, I lean toward shooting close to sunrise or sunset. This is super important for someone who used natural light for making her images glow. For sunrise I recommend meeting 30 minutes before the sun rises over the mountains in the west. For sunset we’ll meet an hour before the sun sets behind the Sierra. So when exactly is that? It depends on the season.

I understand getting a toddler up at 6am or keeping them up to 9pm to take photos isn’t easy… sounds like a recipe for a lot of crying kiddos? Don’t worry! I’ve worked with many families who know what time of day is best for their children to be the happiest. The time of day I try to not shoot at is at noon. The light on the mountains isn’t as appealing due to the angle of the sun.

Let’s work together to find the best time to photograph during the season you’re here!

Book your session with Desert Paintbrush today and explore what Mammoth Lakes has to offer!

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Jaymie is a Mammoth Lakes & Zion Photographer. She specializes in documenting small weddings & elopements.