Capturing the Yosemite Horsetail Fall

I was in Yosemite with a group of photographers last weekend (Feb 25-26, 2017). This was my first time in Yosemite and I was super excited. Yosemite is more popular in Summer but for photographers winter is pretty exciting too. The snow covered rocky peaks, icicles, frozen waterfalls. It’s beautiful.  One of the main reason is to shoot the horsetail falls which is a seasonal waterfall that flows in winter and early spring. If the weather conditions are just right, around sunset the light falling on the waterfall makes it glow. Photographers go bonkers to capture this phenomenon and try to secure a spot hours in advance. It looks kinda - crazy.

We were not sure if we would get to experience the phenomenon that evening because a bunch of clouds were luring and blocking light for most part of our wait. In addition, it was very windy up near the waterfall, so the water was spreading out instead of a steady down stream.  So even if it lit up it won’t present itself like all the other popular pictures you can find online. In fact many photographers had started packing.

Lucky for us, some clouds cleared up just for a small window of about 15-20 minutes. The light moved from the bottom of the mountains making its way up to the waterfall. It was just mesmerizing. I think, the wind - by spreading the water - in fact gave a unique perspective,  different than most of the popular photos out there.


I took a bunch of photos and made a small video clip to give an idea of how the light behaved.

It was super cold for the two days I was there. Many times while taking pictures, I couldn’t even feel my fingers. But it was totally worth it!