This past weekend I was up in Yosemite for the opportunity to capture the once a year ‘Fire Fall’ affect that happens at sunset on Horsetail Falls. For about two weeks a year, weather permitting, the sunset lines up perfectly to illuminate Horsetail Falls on the eastern side of El Capitan. As the sun sets, a shadow is cast along the side of El Cap until just a sliver of light is left to illuminate Horsetail Falls.
Positioning oneself at the right angle, that sliver of light turns the water fall into a nature made Fire Falls, where the water seems like it’s on fire. While there are a number of days each February where the earth/sun alignment is right to create this affect (it happens in the fall as well, but the water fall typically only exists in the winter/spring) you are always at the whim of mother nature and if she’ll grant you clear skies. The amount of recent precipitation and temperatures are also a factor in how much water is flowing over the falls, more water means more dramatic effect.
This year, we are lucky to have a streak of perfect weather with clear evening skies. From other photographers I talked to up in Yosemite it was perfect conditions Friday as well as Saturday and Sunday with this Thursday being the ideal angle of the sunset. One photographer even said that this was the best he had seen in the past twelve years of coming up in February.
Most photographs I have seen of this lighting of Horsetail Falls tend to focus tightly on just the falls. The downside of this is that most people don’t have a good idea of what they are looking at. With this in mind, I made sure to capture both close up as well as wider photos to give the full affect. I also shot some video on Sunday and plan on having a Sunday Morning Short of Horsetail Falls soon.
You can view more Yosemite National Park photos in the Archive, where Art Prints can be purchased.