Horsetail Fall, the Natural Firefall
One year ago, I was intensly focused on capturing orange light on the ephemeral Horsetail Fall in Yosemite Valley. Pouring off the side of El Capitan, this seasonal waterfall attracts thousands of photographers every year in February when it is transformed into a natural “firefall” right before sunset. Last year, we had a fair bit of weather during the two week window that the firefall effect takes place, so getting good shots was a little tricky. I was trying to get a new episode of Yosemite Nature Notes out about this phenomenon as well as the original man-made Firefall from Glacier Point. I never really got the “money” shot that I was hoping for, but the episode was saved thanks to fellow filmmaker Sterling Johnson, who let me license a few shots from his collection. I also interviewed Michael Adams, son of Ansel, Tony Rowell, son of Galen, and local photog Michael Frye, whose blog is a great source of information about photographing Yosemite.
We’ve had an extremely dry winter, so I haven’t been too optimistic about there being much water in the fall this year, but that may be changing. A new storm is rolling in, and the forecast calls for a couple of inches of snow for Yosemite Valley. Provided that it clears up after the storm, this should be enough snow to get the water flowing, so I’ll be out in Valley later this week, trying to get a few more shots for my library.