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Horsetail Falls

It is that magical time of year again when a unique alignment happens at Horsetail falls off El Capitan. This year there may be very little to photograph, as there is very little snow and the falls have already run dry.

Horsetail Falls is a seasonal waterfall that cascades off the East side of El Capitan over 1,000 feet from December to April. Galen Rowell’s photograph in 1973, "Natural Firefall" is well known as the first color photograph of the event. Ansel Adams documented the event but as a black-and-white landscape photo.

For only two weeks in February, if conditions are right, the water of Horsetail falls off of El Capitan lights up with the sun’s setting glow in what has been called "Fire Falls". The area has had plenty of the full sunlight that is needed, but there is no water. Extended forecasts show that snow is predicted at the high elevations this weekend and possibly next weekend. If the weather clears at the end of the month perhaps the falls will light up again.

The most photographed view of Horsetail Fall is at the El Capitan picnic area, approximately 1.7 miles past Yosemite Lodge on Northside Drive. In late February, photographers from around the world set up there hoping to catching the last rays of light in the evening.

A detailed photography blog on how to capture a photo of fire falls is at