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Sun Feb 17, 2013, 08:15 AM

It is that time of year again-Natural Yosemite 'Firefall' at Horsetail Fall



For a few weeks in February, if the water is flowing in Horsetail Fall, photographers and park visitors gather in the waning evening light for an amazing natural display. The 'natural firefall' appears when the angle of the setting sun sets the waterfall ablaze with reds and oranges, like a fire was falling down the cliffs on the shoulder of El Capitan.

Where:
The most convenient, and frequently shot view of Horsetail Fall is at the El Capitan picnic area, approximately 1.7 miles past Yosemite Lodge at the Falls on Northside Drive. In late February, you’ll often see rows of photographers of all levels there catching the last rays of light in the evening.
Of course, the most unique images often come from photographers willing to explore for different angles and locations that also capture the light of the Fall. According to local professional photographer, Nancy Robbins, there are many places that work. Just look for places where the falls will be backlit by the setting sun, such as along the river, or along the rim.

When:
The ‘firefall’ is typically the most stunning during middle to late February. However, the natural firefall effect depends on conditions for the year, and photographers may be luckier before or after that time frame depending on the amount of water flow in Horsetail Fall, and the cloud cover.

http://www.yosemitepark.com/horsetail-fall.aspx

12 replies, 3220 views

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Reply It is that time of year again-Natural Yosemite 'Firefall' at Horsetail Fall (Original post)
n2doc Feb 2013 OP
liberal N proud Feb 2013 #1
lunatica Feb 2013 #2
Sekhmets Daughter Feb 2013 #3
Wounded Bear Feb 2013 #4
LWolf Feb 2013 #5
jazzimov Feb 2013 #6
kwassa Feb 2013 #7
Liberty Belle Feb 2013 #9
SunSeeker Feb 2013 #11
catbyte Feb 2013 #8
SunSeeker Feb 2013 #10
n2doc Feb 2013 #12

Response to n2doc (Original post)

Sun Feb 17, 2013, 09:15 AM

1. That is incredible!

Makes me wish I could have landed that job in Central California.

Great pictures.

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Sun Feb 17, 2013, 09:43 AM

2. When I went to Yosemity it was like having a religious experience

Those photos are gorgeous!

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Sun Feb 17, 2013, 11:49 AM

3. Words fail me... Thanks for this.

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Sun Feb 17, 2013, 12:39 PM

4. Very cool! Many thanks! nt

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Sun Feb 17, 2013, 06:30 PM

5. Beautiful.

As Yosemite always is. Living out of state, I don't visit anymore. I used to be a regular, but I was never there in February. If I ever have a chance to return, I'll remember this.

I was a regular in October, when the water is low, not all the falls are always running, the number of people drops, and the fall colors take off.

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 06:09 PM

6. Beautiful! I went with my aunt one year

spent a week in lower Yosemite, and then drove through Upper Yosemite to Reno. Afterwards, we wished we had spent the 2nd week in upper Yosemite.

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 06:41 PM

7. There used to be a real firefall that was pushed over the edge of the cliff, every night in summer.

Great photos, by the way.

The Yosemite Firefall was a summer time ritual that lasted from 1872 until 1968 in which burning hot embers were dropped a height of about 3000 feet from the top of Glacier Point in Yosemite National Park down to the valley below, and from a distance looked similar to a glowing water fall because the people who dumped the embers made sure to do so in a uniform fashion. The ritual was performed by several generations of the owners of the Glacier Point Hotel. The ritual ended in January 1968 when the National Park Service ordered that the Firefall be discontinued due to the overwhelming number of visitors it attracted, and the fact that it was not a natural event. The hotel burned down a year later and was never rebuilt.

The ritual was performed at 9 PM every night, to coincide with the end of a performance at Camp Curry.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yosemite_Firefall

I was there when the Glacier Point Hotel burned. It lit up the entire opposite wall of the canyon.

On August 9, 1969, an electrical fire started on the bottom floor of the unoccupied hotel. Within minutes, the Glacier Point Hotel along with the Mountain House and several trees were destroyed in the fire. A nearby stockpile of Red Fir left over from the firefall helped enlarge the flames. After the incident, visitors were kept away from Glacier Point as demolition crews removed the remaining debris. In later years, a granite Amphitheater was built on the site of the hotel and a new visitor center has completed near the site. These changes were part of a 1996-1997 modernization effort to transform the heavily traveled path. Even so, some evidence of the Glacier Point, such as some of the old foundations, are still evident. The iconic boulder, another example, behind the hotel has also remained in its original position.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glacier_Point_Hotel

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Response to kwassa (Reply #7)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 09:45 PM

9. I saw one of the last firefalls back in summer 1967. It was spectacular.

My parents took us there, along with my grandparents. It was a highlight of their lives; grandpa died that winter, so glad we got to show them Yosemite.

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Response to Liberty Belle (Reply #9)

Wed Feb 20, 2013, 09:36 AM

11. What a wonderful memory.

Last edited Wed Feb 20, 2013, 11:33 AM - Edit history (1)

Thanks for sharing.

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 06:58 PM

8. Wow, just wow. I had no idea. Thank you!

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Wed Feb 20, 2013, 09:34 AM

10. Beautiful!

I have got to get back up to Yosemite. I wish it wasn't such a pain to get reservations. Seems like you have to call a year in advance or they're all booked up. I guess there's a reason!

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Thu Feb 21, 2013, 02:30 PM

12. Update- Happened last Saturday!

For 12 minutes at dusk last Saturday, it felt like a supernatural force took over a piece of Yosemite Valley.

This weekend, it might happen again.

At Horsetail Fall, tucked on the shoulder of El Capitan, what looked like the once-epic Yosemite “firefall” suddenly appeared on the dark canyon wall and glowed in phosphorescent reds, oranges and silvers.

Conditions could synchronize again over the next week and ignite another big show, with the measured prospects best over the weekend, and then will vanish for the rest of the year.

Everything has to be just right.

see more pics at link

http://blog.sfgate.com/stienstra/2013/02/21/yosemite-valleys-firefall-astounds-park-visitors-gallery/

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