Monday, May 30, 2022

Moonlit Firefall - bucket list photos in Yosemite

A surreal and magical experience and years of planning and waiting for the exact alignment to be able to photograph my all time bucket list shot from Yosemite National Park. Firefall is a phenomenon where Horsetail Fall is lit up by the setting sun causing it to look like falling lava which generally happens during a two week period in February as long as conditions are favorable. On the rarest of occasions, the setting full moon will be in position at the same elevation and azimuth for this occurrence to be made possible by moonlight.

I awoke to a 3am alarm and made my way to Yosemite Valley to a location along the Merced River that I had scouted out the day prior. While Firefall in February draws an insanely large crowd, I setup my equipment accompanied by only two other individuals. The smell of smoke filled the air from controlled burns in the area. I chose to photograph this with a wide angle lens to capture the full ambiance of the event; including the setting moon, the Merced River and stars in the sky. As the moon moved into frame it not only illuminated Horsetail Fall in a fiery glow but also the smoke from the controlled burn causing smoke rays to fill the air. As the moon set and the glow on Horsetail Fall dimmed, a sense of peace and joy rushed over me as a new day begun.

Words cannot describe the feeling of being able to witness this so I did my best to document it the only way I know how….through my lens.