Monday, February 16, 2009

Firefall at Horsetail Fall - First Attempt

I mentioned last week that I was heading to Yosemite to capture the elusive Firefall at Horsetail Fall. The weather forecast for the weekend was pretty gloomy, 80 - 100 percent chance of snow showers each day. Of course, with snow showers, brings clouds. Clouds block the sun and the sun is a primary requirement for capturing the Firefall. That really didn't matter to me, I was still heading out to the park with my photography (and backpacking) buddies, Tim and Tony.

We left the very dark East Bay at 4:30, hoping to get in the valley early enough to take advantage of any morning light we could find. We were not disappointed! Saturday was a beautiful day. To top it off, Friday saw some pretty heavy snow fall so we were able to view a true Winter Wonderland. We enjoyed light on El Capitan and Yosemite Falls and enough blue skies and sun to really brighten our day.

The evening was fast approaching and we headed out to the El Capitan picnic area to join the dozen or so other photographers patiently waiting (and praying) for clouds to stay away. I was able to meet up with Chuck Cagara, the photographer who took the magical Firefall photo I posted last week. It really was a pleasure talking with him and getting his take on the Firefall and Yosemite. Okay, back to the Firefall. When we arrived at the picnic area, there was a lot of light on Horsetail Fall. However, there was not a lot of water coming down the fall, but it was enough to reflect the sunlight shining on it. Now we just needed to wait for the red glow to appear as the sun set. A couple of times the clouds passed in front of the sun and the fall went dark (Boo!). The sun came back (Yeah!). However, about 20 minutes before sunset, the approaching storm decided to make its advance known and we never saw any other light on the Fall. I did get a nice photo of Horsetail Fall in full light.

We still had two other opportunities for catching the Firefall, unfortunately, the storms coming in were too much. All is not lost though. I had a great time with my friends and filling up the 16GB SD card in my camera (a quick selection of photos below).

I am not done though. I am headed back to the Yosemite later this week. Check back for Firefall at Horsetail Fall - Second Attempt.

Valley View

El Capitan in Morning Light

The mists from Tunnel View

Yosemite Chapel under heavy snowfall

Contrast in Yosemite Meadow

Tuolumne Grove in snowstorm

Majestic (and fearless) Buck

Snowy Merced River

Did I mention it snowed hard?

Upper and Lower Yosemite Falls

Bridal Veil Fall

Lower Yosemite Falls


Jay said...

FanTAStic photos. Thanks for posting. I enjoy your blog, but especially your stuff on Yosemite. Keep it up!

Dave Miller said...

Thanks Jay. I can't get enough of Yosemite. I'm hoping for more great shots on Thursday.

Scott Sanders said...

I should have known you and Tim were buddies. Great trip and awesome photos. Now I want to go in the winter time. We're going to be in Yosemite again in late June. I hope there's still some water flowing from the falls in the valley, but I'm not over anticipating. Last summer I was there first week of August and it was very dry, but after the smoke from Telegraph cleared.

Dave Miller said...

Actually, my buddy Tim is not Tim Shisler. I know he loves Yosemite too, but we never managed to share the trail together.

You should still have good flow in the falls in late June. It all depends upon how much more snow comes in.