Horsetail Fall II

Copyright © 2012 Deborah M. Zajac.  All Rights Reserved.

Copyright © 2012 Deborah M. Zajac. All Rights Reserved.

I was fortunate enough to have the time free to be able to return to Yosemite for another chance of seeing Horsetail Fall light up on Thurs. Feb. 23, 2012.

This event though possible each year isn’t guaranteed. All the elements and conditions must come together to see it.

On Thurs. the sky was blue and clear. I hoped it stayed that way right up until sunset.

This trip was an encore to the trip here February 18, 2010 to see Horsetail Fall light up. I’m in several Photography related Meet-up groups and I went up with several photographers from one of these groups.

14 photographers from a Bay Area Meet-up made it this year. I rose at 12:01AM on Thurs the 23rd then dressed, ate a light snack, got my gear in the car and left at 2:30AM to meet 2 companions 30 minutes away. From there we were to car-pool to Livermore an hour away to meet several more photographers. Then we car-a-vanned to Yosemite.  We arrived at our first shooting location in the park before 8 A.M.

There we started photographing in the cold 32 degree morning at Swinging Bridge. We weren’t alone. Down on the river we ran into Michael Frye and 3 of his students who also decided to get an early jump on the day.

From here we went to several well-known and wonderful spots in the park where we spied a Coyote catching a vole, and  the view from Tunnel View never disappoints. Some of my companions saw and photographed a Bobcat! I’m sorry I missed that. I was in a car ahead of them and missed it completely.

Mid afternoon we made our way over to our ” secret spot” to photograph we hoped the sun hitting Horsetail Fall.

We didn’t expect anyone to be in this spot. It’s not well-known. We arrived to find it as expected empty. We fanned out and set up our cameras, tripods, trail stools, and some stretched out on the soft pine needles and took a nap.

About an hour later a lone man slowly walked by nodded and kept walking. 20 minutes later he came back with his camera and tripod.

20 minutes later out of the trees came Michael Frye and his 3 students. His face was full of surprise to find such a large group there already.

A little later another lone man emerged from the trees with his camera and tripod. There were about 20 people there by then.

Right on time the light on the cliff face began to change and the show was on. All joking and talking stopped as we jumped into action and soon all you heard was the soft beeps of camera AF motors, and shutters clicking. Once in a while I heard Michael giving his students a direction or making a comment. Then right before the color reached its peak a couple came walking up and sat down to watch the last few minutes of the phenomenon.

At the peak there was a spray of mist or perhaps evaporation that could be seen fanning out from the cliff face that added a wonderful glow to the show.

As you see there’s very little snow up there. We were really lucky this year to see this.

Because the sky was clear the whole mountain had a glow so I framed more of El Capitan to capture it. In less than 10 minutes it faded completely so it was time to pack up.

Isn’t it wonderful how something can look so different from day-to-day. My  photograph taken on Tues. Feb. 21, 2012 is here.

It was a day filled with laughter, adventure, good people to hang out with, and at the end of the day Mother Nature’s light show was the Pièce de résistance.

Nikon D700| Nikkor 80-200@ 105mm| f16| 0.4 sec| ISO 160| Manual Mode| Tripod w/timer| Circular Polarizer


Author: circadianreflections

My name is Deborah Zajac. I'm a photographer living in Silicon Valley. I am a passionate nature, landscape, night/astro photographer. I shoot predominately in color and use Nikon Digital Cameras, and lenses. I hope you enjoy seeing some of the photos I've taken while on my travels. Please feel free to leave a comment I'd love to hear from you.

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