View Full Version : The fire fall that didn't

John Kasaian
17-Feb-2018, 21:27
For a little while each February, the sun reflects on little Horsetail Falls in Yosemite Valley, which make the falls look vaguely reminiscent of the old Fire Fall of yore.
The NPS was so worried about crowds of photographers this year, that they set up a reservation/permit scheme for parking spaces.

Well the crowds show
ed up.
Horsetail Falls didn't. No snow=no water=no firefall=no brainer.

A Ranger we know there reported it took three hours to drive the 14 miles into the valley because of the traffic.

I can only suppose that since the NPS thought requiring parking reservations were necessary for the "fire fall" event. then the photogs assumed that Horsetail Falls must be running.
Either that or the NPS figured crowds would come up anyway to trample the meadow and look up at where Horsetail Falls would have been.

A curious situation.

17-Feb-2018, 21:38
I got caught up in that mess several years ago. People were parking all crazy-like. I did not know what was going on, and went further up the Valley. I ended up with an image or two of it (on 120 film - sm platinum print) when I was hanging out along the Merced, but I kept wondering why photographers would show up where ever I went. I suppose the same thing happens these days when Lower Yosemite Falls gets the "Moonbow".

I put an image I took then on the "everything else" section -- a carbon print from a 6cmx8cm negative.

18-Feb-2018, 17:09
Several years back, probably around 2010, a couple of us drove up to Yosemite just ahead of a major storm to shoot the valley in its aftermath with B&W film. We were shooting Mt. Watkins from Mirror Lake when it struck me that the scene would look good in color. So that afternoon I stopped at the AA Gallery to buy a roll of 120 color negative for the big Pentax and they had only 1 roll - a roll of Fuji Reala marked by Fuji "sample not for retail sale" and I bought it. I went back to Mirror Lake the following day and shot all but 2 frames. We were leaving back for the bay that afternoon and on the way out Horsetail was running so we pulled up on the parking lot for El Cap and got the very last parking space. It must have been around 3 or so and I set-up the big Pentax with the 400mm lens in the snow behind the crowd of photographers that were beginning to gather. After a couple of hours or more of waiting the scene finally presented itself and having only 2 frames left on the roll waited for what I thought would be the best shot. The first link below is the print of the Mt. Watkins view and the second is the print of Horsetail. Both are RA4 prints and for Horsetail I masked and did a second exposure to change the color of the sky from a dull grey to the blue that you see.




Drew Wiley
18-Feb-2018, 18:09
I was right under that Fall when it was frozen. Didn't see anyone else in the Valley except a couple of ragers. Nobody could get in. Road snowed shut. That's the way I prefer to remember that Fall.