Firefall!

Location: Yosemite Valley, Yosemite National Park
Time: Sunset
EXIF: Canon EOS 7D | EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM | 56mm | f/8 | 1/8s | ISO 100

Another one from the Firefall series. I can’t believe how lucky I was to see this natural event. So many years in California and I didn’t even know about this until I got into Photography. Well, better late than never 🙂

I can’t imagine how Galen Rowell must have felt when taking the first-known photograph of the natural Yosemite Firefall. I am sure several others saw the phenomenon before Galen Rowell, he just was the first to Photograph. Such a beautiful thing to witness.

So many things have to line up and work harmoniously for the event to happen. To start with, the Horsetail Fall must be flowing. Obviously! But, think about it. If there’s not enough snow in early February, the Horsetail Fall will not be flowing. Assuming there is decent flow in the Fall, then weather conditions need to be near perfect. The Western Sky must be clear during Sunset. If there are any clouds, they’ll prevent Sun’s rays from hitting the Horsetail Falls and it will not light up. If the Fall is flowing and if weather conditions are good, then the Fall will light up for about 10 minutes and that too only during a 2 week period in February.

But to witness it, you have to be in the right place at the right time. The Horsetail Falls is visible from multiple locations in Yosemite. You have to be in the right angle to see the event in action. Now you can see why you should consider yourself lucky to witness this event. I sure was!

After debating whether or not to stick around and gamble to witness this event, we finally decided to stay. Then came the question of where to shoot it from. After walking for a bit, we decided to stick to our original spot. Until the very last minute, we didn’t know if it was going to light up. It suddenly did and it was simply superb.

I manually focused on the waterfall, went with what is considered to be the sharpest aperture for this lens (f/8) and kept firing away. I changed the focal length and orientation once in a while to switch things up.

From a processing stand-point, apart from my regular processing, I did some dodging and burning to highlight the lava-like waterfall. I like how it turned out.

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