Firefall at Yosemite

In the last few days I’ve seen a few fleeting mentions of Yosemite’s “Firefall,” a once-a-year natural phenomenon that occurs if conditions are exactly right. At sunset, if there is enough water from snowmelt and if visibility is good, Horsetail Fall becomes a glowing orange spray of light cascading down the cliff face. Photographers, catch it if you can, and from those of us who can’t, thank you.

This is the gold standard for photographs of Horsetail Fall -- Galen Rowell's 1973 "Last Light on Horsetail Fall, Yosemite." It was the first color photograph of the firefall phenomenon.

I have mixed feelings about background sounds and music in these videos. If I were on the scene, I would watch in rapt and reverent silence and expect everyone around me to do the same.




10 thoughts on “Firefall at Yosemite

      1. It’s a gorgeous place. Been many years since I went, but loved every part of it. My first back packing trip, too, in the upper Toulomne Meadows (however that’s spelled). And took a horseback ride up a set of falls – but not sure which one. There are many. Ansel Adams truly does this place justice in his photography.

        1. Adams probably sparked my early interest in photography, although when you start with his work as your example, you are doomed to disappointment with your own efforts. I pretty much gave up on nature photography in the ’80s after concluding that “the emulsion of the mind” was my preferred medium. Being fully in the moment was preferable to hiding behind a lens trying to capture the moment on film.

... and that's my two cents