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Author Topic: Yosemite horsetail falls  (Read 3950 times)


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Yosemite horsetail falls
« on: February 22, 2009, 12:40:31 AM »

With all of the winter Yosemite shots i've been seeing on other forums. I'm thinking of trying to get out there next year for winter (As an Albertan, if i told my co-workers I wanted to go to California in the winter for snow, they would think i'm nuts ).  

What would be the best time to go there to try and capture the "natural firefalls" in February 2010??

Do the falls only light up like some of the photos I've seen, only few days, or it over a week, a couple of weeks

I'd also appreciate advice on what are the best vantage points to caputure the falls, as well as some advice on logistics (i.e. if you have a SUV or snow tires, do you still need chains). We get WAY more snow and even with icy rain in winter, i have never used chains.


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Yosemite horsetail falls
« Reply #1 on: February 23, 2009, 02:17:54 PM »

I suggest you buy Steve Kossack's Yosemite DVD which gives you most of the information you are looking for. I believe it's in february and only "by chance' that you can photograph what you want. I strongly recommend the entuire DVD series
best of luck!

Paul Sumi

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Yosemite horsetail falls
« Reply #2 on: February 23, 2009, 04:04:27 PM »

Horsetail Falls lights up like a fire falls during only one time of the year - roughly the last 2-3 weeks of February.  It's only at this time when the setting sun hits the west face of El Capitan at the proper angle.  However, a number of conditions all have to be present:

1. Time of year (as already mentioned)

2. Sufficient snow runoff to cause Horsetail falls to fall

3. Clear enough weather at sunset to allow direct sunlight to strike the falls

Speaking of Steve Kossack, I attended his February 2006 Yosemite winter workshop and we were fortunate enough to photograph Horsetail falls from one of the classic locations, Sentinel Beach:
BTW, weather and snow conditions in Yosemite can vary widely during the winter.  When I was there in February 2006, conditions were almost Spring-like with very little snow on the Valley floor.  But 2 weeks later, friends encountered a full-on snow storm.  

Chains are required to be carried and used by law in and around Yosemite NP under the following snow conditions:

It appears that even with snow tires, chains are required to be carried.

Finally - live webcams of Yosemite:


« Last Edit: February 23, 2009, 04:15:24 PM by PaulS »


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Yosemite horsetail falls
« Reply #3 on: February 25, 2009, 02:10:51 AM »

See also Michael Frye's information:

He's also the author of "The Photographers Guide to Yosemite." Highly recommended for anyone planning to photograph in the park.

Best regards,

Jeffrey Korst
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