Friday, February 19, 2016

Yosemite firefall appears to be flowing lava on shoulder of El Capitan

Conditions were perfect for the stunning phenomenon called firewall at Yosemite.
Conditions were perfect for the stunning phenomenon called firefall at Yosemite.
Photo by 
Shank0205 

In a stunning phenomenon, Horsetail Fall in Yosemite only looks as if it is on fire or flowing lava down the cliffs on the shoulder of El Capitan.

The popular illusion occurs only in February and conditions must be just right—setting sun, flowing waterfall, clear skies—or the Yosemite firefall, as it is referred to, could be a dud.

For several photographers, however, conditions have been favorable this month as evidenced by the striking photos by Instagram user Shank0205 and Sangeeta Day.

“It’s the way the sun happens to hit that causes the waterfall to glow in such a way,” Yosemite National Park ranger Ashley Mayer told CNN.

For Day, she realized how lucky she was to be there when conditions were perfect and to capture the firefall in full bloom.

“I’ve met photographers who said that they have been coming for 11 years only to see this happen two or three times,” Day wrote on Facebook.

“The phenomenon was supposed to happen at around 5:30 in the evening, but I was there at 2 p.m. to find a spot. I finally settled for a tiny space under a thorny bush. When the fall started glowing, I couldn't believe what I was seeing.

“For 10 minutes, all of us sat there mesmerized by this spectacle. When it ended, a few of us had tears in our eyes. Some people were clapping. And others were just ecstatic to finally get a chance to see it after trying for years.”
Sangeeta Day took this image of Yosemite firefall and posted it on Facebook


Day’s image of the Yosemite firefall was shared by Bay Area media and other outlets, but Shank0205 might have produced the best of the bunch.

“This is quite honestly the best shot I've seen in a LONG time,” Garrett Hoyer wrote on Shank0205’s Instagram page. “This is someplace I want to go badly!”

Replied Shank0205, “This was my first visit to Yosemite and I’m happy I got to witness this beautiful work of nature.”

So when’s the best time to view this work of nature called Yosemite firefall? The Yosemite National Park website said middle-to-late February is optimal.

“However,” the Yosemite website wrote, “the 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.”


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