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February 19, 2020

Yosemite Firefall

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From the Guardian:

Every February, Horsetail Fall is lit by the setting sun, bringing thousands of people to Yosemite to watch the phenomenon

Aaron Meyers vividly remembers his first firefall.

The spectacle of Yosemite’s famous Horsetail Fall lit up by the setting sun, which lasts for just a few minutes per night for a few weeks in late February, is sought out obsessively by photographers like him.

Back then, photographing the natural phenomenon was a guessing game.

The firefall requires a convergence of forces: enough moisture to fuel the falls, skies clear enough for the light to shine through, and the right angle for the sun's light to hit the 1000-foot waterfall, east of El Capitan, for a dazzling display of color.

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Soon after his first visit, Meyers, a trained engineer, built a computer program that could calculate the days that would have the best angle of the sun for optimal viewing, and published his recommendations on his blog.

For a couple of years no one seemed to notice — until 2015, when someone shooting beside him pulled out a paper copy of his blog post.

"It was like, people are actually using this," said Meyers.

Photographers are one of the reasons why the firefall has gotten so much buzz — from the time Ansel Adams captured the falls in 1940 up to now.

In recent years the firefall's popularity has soared, boosted by social media and enthusiasts such as Meyers who have made capturing the phenomenon more accessible.

February 19, 2020 at 02:01 PM | Permalink


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