Horsetail Fall 2016

Copyright 2016 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

I shared with those of you who read this blog regularly that I was heading up to Yosemite National Park on Friday to photograph something other than birds. That something was Horsetail Fall.  If you’ve been reading my blog for awhile you’ve probably read about my past experiences trying to photograph it. The last few years during a major drought has been even more of a challenge.

This waterfall is fed by rainfall, and snow melt. Twice a year IF the conditions are just right magic happens. There are two conditions that must be present to make that magic. They are water flowing down Horsetail Fall, and Direct Sunlight.  If one of these two elements is missing there’s no show.  This phenomenon lasts about a week for the best lighting of the fall, but you can see it for about 2 weeks.  It happens in February, and again in October. October is a real rarity though because by then there usually isn’t any water flowing.

On Friday it looked iffy by the time we arrived in the park. Clouds began rolling in during the afternoon but, Golden hour looked great, and kept my hope alive that there was still a chance that the Sun would light it up and color it red.  We were already beginning to see a bit of orange minutes before it would be turning brilliant red!

Horsetail Fall February 19 2016
Copyright © 2016 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Do you see all those clouds behind the mountain? BTW-That’s El Capitan at the top left of the Horsetail Fall for those of you unfamiliar with Yosemite’s mountains.  I took this image at 5:26PM and at 5:30PM just when the color should have been turning a brilliant red like lava flowing down the mountain…the lights went out. Just as if someone had blown out a candle. POOOOF! All the light was gone. The sun had sunk into a low cloud bank and hundreds of us moaned in unison.

Yes, there are hundreds if not thousands of people who come to see this phenomenon each year.  We drove home defeated once again by Mother Nature and the low Cloud Bank.

Last year I was skunked entirely. There was water, but no sun at all. The clouds rolled in and foiled all hope the one day I had to go up to try to get the shot.

2014 I gave it a miss completely. There wasn’t much water at all flowing the week the sun lined up and the day  I could have gone there was no sun.

My friends and I looked at the weather, and cloud report for Sunday the 21st and thought it was worth trying again.

I spoke with the family about it, and they said it was perfectly okay if I left before Big Baby Boy and A. They had come up for the week-end to hang-out with us and #1 Grandson, and were leaving on Sunday.  I gave lots of hugs and kisses to the family and left to meet my friends to try again for that shot at Horsetail Fall.

On the way up the clouds started rolling in. I hoped they stayed high and no thick cloud bank in the west blocked up the Sun again!

We got to the Secret Spot only to find nearly 50 people!! My secret spot since 2010 is no longer such a Secret Spot! Many people are looking to get away from the maddening crowd on Southside, and Northside Drive.  So, my two friends and I set up our rigs and hoped.

We got color but not brilliant color like we got in  2012, and 2013 ,but at least we didn’t get completely skunked like last year.

Horsetail Fall 2016

I’m so grateful for an understanding family! Without their love and support I wouldn’t

have been able to spend 16 hours on the road trying to get “the shot”.  I love you, and thank God for you everyday. ♥

It wasn’t the shot I was hoping for, but it was fun trying, and if you don’t try you don’t get the shot!

I’ll be trying again next year for the shot I have in my head…if the conditions are right.

Nikon Df| Nikkor 28-105mm @ 105mm| Delking Devices Digital Film| PS CC 2016

More to come…