Fire Fall—A Marvel of Nature!


 

Isn’t that an amazing picture? What is it? At first glance it looks to be a flow of molten lava, something that you’d expect to see coming from volcanic activity. Perhaps you would expect to see something like this on the big Island of Hawaii, in Indonesia or the Philippine Islands. Why there are a plethora of volcanoes all over the world for that matter.
 

Yet this actually is not a river flowing of magma emission. This is a rare phenomenon that happens for only a two week period during the year. This magnificent marvel of cosmic alignment happens in a small window of time, a flashing moment at sunset if, and only if weather permits it.
 
 

Where is it you ask?
 
 

Each year countless nature photographers converge upon Yosemite National Park to capture the evanescent spectacle of Horsetail Fall, its longest free-falling waterfall with a drop of 1,500 feet along the granite face of El Capitan. They pass the time hoping for clear skies so they may duplicate this manifestation that was first recorded in color back in 1973 by photographer Galen Rowell.
 

Michael Frye who wrote the book, “The Photographer’s Guide to Yosemite” said that “Horsetail is so uniquely situated that I don’t know of any other waterfall on earth that gets that kind of light.”
 

For many years before this occurrence was captured, photographers only had to point and shoot to obtain another famous Yosemite firefall which was man-made—a cascade of embers that was pushed from a bonfire on summer nights off Glacier Point.
 

But all this has become a lesson in Physics, Geometry and Astronomy as photographers study the angle measured from north eastward along the horizon where the vertical circle intersects, otherwise known as azimuth, a horizontal angle of bearing.
 
 

A horizontal angle of what? Let’s keep this simple, shall we?
 
 

The azimuth degrees and minutes of the earth’s orbit are relative to the sun that defines the best time of day to encounter it. So they wait patiently looking for the lowest angle of light that will shower Horsetail Fall with a kaleidoscopic sunset while the sun’s rays reflect off the granite directly behind the water which may vary in levels of intensity over the course of the same two weeks of the year, every year.
 

You can imagine all the calculation and timing it takes along with the cooperation with nature to be successful because Horsetail Fall empties into a small area on the eastern summit of El Capitan and only flows during winter and springtime in years with adequate rain and snow, which has been scarce this year, although the experts say it doesn’t have to take a lot of water to light up the fall.
 

But most importantly, the southwestern sky must be clear and February is the peak time of year when storm clouds often obscure the setting sun. So when the environment cooperates and conditions come together, the scrawny Horsetail Fall is the shining star of the park.
 

The Fall lights up like fire around dusk and last for just about two minutes. And with the recent storms and snow, this means the persnickety fall is flowing again and park officials are hopeful that it will last at least through February 24th, which generally is the last day of the year to catch a glimpse of it.
 

“If you hit it at just the right time, it turns this amazing color of gold or red-orange,” said Frye, a photo instructor with the Ansel Adams Gallery in the park.
 

Though the popularity is reminiscent of an actual fiery fall that entertained guests in the park from 1930 to 1968, there’s no comparison to the natural activities and occurrences in Yosemite that are far more amazing and more valuable— everything from a sunset to wildlife to rainbows at Vernal Fall.
 

Yes the majestic Horsetail Fall is a fire fall—a true marvel of nature!
 
 

So what do you think? Have you ever had the opportunity to visit Yosemite National Park? Have you ever seen the likes of such a phenomenon? What volcanoes or waterfalls have you had a chance to visit? What are the things that you enjoy about nature? And how do they inspire you?
 
 

If you enjoyed this I encourage you to run up to the top of the page and hit the follow button for future posts!
 
 

Thank you for your many thoughts and fine comments everyone!

Karen
 
 
 

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37 thoughts on “Fire Fall—A Marvel of Nature!

  1. Pingback: Blog Treasures 2-25 | Gene Lempp's Blog

  2. Pat O'Dea Rosen

    Yosemite is on my wish list, Karen.

    Thanks for this post–it’s the closest I’ll get to experiencing that magnificent fire fall.

    Reply
    1. Karen Post author

      Hi Pat! Yosemite is such a beautiful place and yet for most of us unless we happen to be one of the chosen few, will have to be content to experience the fire fall through the eyes of a camera lens. Thanks Pat for dropping by! :)

      Reply
    1. Karen Post author

      Oh Melinda, can you even imagine? I am awe struck each time I visit places like this. It is amazing what creative marvels there are around the world for us to enjoy! it’s just awesome! Well get in that car and go Melinda! LOL! :)

      Reply
    1. Karen Post author

      Ha, ha, ha Diane. You are so funny. Hey, I just thought I’d bring us an inspiring view of what nature can do. I’m glad you thought it was cool. It is cool! :)

      Reply
  3. Kristy K. James

    Beautiful! But I’ll only see it in pictures. Pretty sure that visiting Niagara Falls with my parents when I was little has contributed to my love of FLAT places. I got lightheaded just watching the trailer for Man on a Ledge so you know I’ll probably never see this sight in person. Wish I could though. :)
    Kristy K. James recently posted..Then and NowMy Profile

    Reply
    1. Karen Post author

      LOL Kristy! But I do have to say that Yosemite is one of the most beautiful places on earth. And you don’t have to climb up high to appreicate its beauty. The valley floor has much to offer and it is a safe flat place full of its own beauty. I hope you change your mind. You’d love it. :(

      Reply
    1. Karen Post author

      Oh you and your Hubby must go August! It is so beautiful and amazing there. And fortunately it isn’t all that far. Just don’t go during mid-summer. Yikes, too many people. I’m glad you were motivated! Thank you August for coming by! :)

      Reply
  4. Jennette Marie Powell

    Yellowstone is awesome, in the true sense of the word! I went there when I was in college, many years ago. If I saw Horsetail Falls, it was not lit up like that. :) But the sinkholes and geysers, waterfalls all over the place, and of course, Old Faithful – I hope to take my daughter there sometime in the next few years! Devil’s Tower’s quite the sight, too. And a little closer to home, I wouldn’t mind seeing the moonbow at Kentucky’s Cumberland Falls – I’ve only been there in the daytime!
    Jennette Marie Powell recently posted..My Town Monday: Fight Club – in Dayton!My Profile

    Reply
      1. Karen Post author

        LOL Jennette! It doesn’t help that Yellowstone and Yosemite both start with a “Y”. And no you wouldn’t have seen Harsetail Fall in Yellowstone. I’m sure you will make it to Yosemite someday! Thanks Jennette for coming by! :)

        Reply
      2. Karen

        Well yes Yellowstone is truly awesome Jennette! And it’s been many years since I have been there also. And the sinkholes and geysers, waterfalls and Old Faithful is amazing. Thank you Jennette! :)

        Reply
    1. Karen Post author

      Well Niagara Falls is quite a sight Coleen! But the two places couldn’t be compared really. They both have their own beauty. I see a trip to Yosemite in your future Coleen! You’ll enjoy it! :)

      Reply
    1. Karen Post author

      Well you are just going to have to take Wonder Wife to Yosemite Fabio! It is one of the most awe inspiring places on earth! I’m glad you like the Fiery Fall. It is stunning. Thank you Fabio for coming by! :)

      Reply
    1. Karen Post author

      Vanuatu? Really Rachel? I’m sure that was a awesome sight! And yes Horsetail Fall is tremendous. Uh, as you know I am not known to be a techie, but I wanted to know just what would cause such an occurrence to happen at just the right moment in time. It is a wonderment. And thanks Rachel. I thought this line would fit what I seem to be blogging about. :)

      Reply
  5. CC MacKenzie

    Awesome photo, Karen.

    No, I’ve never been to that part of the USA. Been to the Big Apple and Raleigh, North Carolina to stay with my best friend.
    But I have been to Victoria Falls of the Zambize river between Zambia/Zimbabwe in Africa many times. It’s a sight and sound you can never forget.
    Photographs don’t do it justice.

    Great post, missus!
    xx
    CC MacKenzie recently posted..What Are You Wearing?My Profile

    Reply
    1. Karen Post author

      I’m so glad you liked it Christine! Well you’re just gonna have to make a trip west girl. I have been over the pond a time or two myself you know. But a trip to Victoria Falls is no understatement. That’s one beautiful part of the world. That’s one thing that I can’t say. I’ve never been to Africa. I bet it was unforgetable. Thank you Christine for dropping by! :)

      Reply
    1. Karen Post author

      B&W. Aw, that’s too bad. But I know what you mean. It just doesn’t have the same affect, does it? Well, there you go girl! Off to Yosemite for you! I see a trip in your near future. Have fun! Thanks for coming by Kecia! :)

      Reply
  6. Debra Kristi

    I saw this picture on-line the other day and was so tempted to book a quick trip! It’s so amazing! My in-laws go to Yosemite every year, but we have yet to take the kids. Although, I did take the kids to a very big national park on a whim last year. Thanks for the great post!
    Debra Kristi recently posted..Movies, Me and Row80 Check-insMy Profile

    Reply
    1. Karen Post author

      I’m so glad you did see this Debra! The fact that this amazing act of nature is such a phenomenom is the reason why I could not let this story go. Even though someone like you could’ve seen it already. I knew there would be a lot who would never have the opportunity to experience this. And it is deserving of our attention, yes? Thanks you Debra for coming by! :)

      Reply
    1. Karen Post author

      Prudence, when I saw this I just had to share it even though there may have been some who had already seen it. It, the amazing fleeting show of fiery light is just an awe inspiring marvel. There’s no other way of discribing it. Thanks Prudence for stopping by girl! :)

      Reply
    1. Karen Post author

      Well yes Tameri. That is a picture of that amazing phenomenom. No worries. I didn’t mean to loose you girl. It’s just that the timing of everything involved has to be so exact that it can only take place within a short two hours at the end of sunset and withing those two weeks out of the year. Makes you wonder why? Hmm. :)

      Reply
  7. Natalie Hartford

    Stunning and amazing. I had no idea. Hubby and I like to hike into a number of local waterfalls to admire their beauty and power. Something about being at one with nature in that way is uplifting and inspiring. But this…this something so special and amazing. I wish I could see it in person!
    Natalie Hartford recently posted..Urban Word Wednesday: D*ck flickMy Profile

    Reply
    1. Karen Post author

      Isn’t it Natalie? I’ve been a lot of places, but Yosemite is a wonder! There is something about how nature makes us feel so peaceful. I hope some day that you and Hubby get a chance to see it. So worth the trip Natalie. Thanks as always for stopping in. Bright and early too girl! :)

      Reply

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