During the last two weeks of February the sun lines up with the edge of El Capitan to cast a narrow slice of sunlight on Horsetail Falls. This occurred during the same period of time that the snow photos in the gallery above were shot.
The following sequence of photos & captions show the scene over time. According to other recommendations, shooting this a week later would have been about peak. The beam of light would have been narrower. There was not very much water flow in 2012. More flow would improve the amount of color. Some years clouds obstruct the phenomenon completely, so to catch it like this was a treat. Sunset was 5:37pm.
Galen Rowell's famous photo is found on page 2 of this gallery:
A excellent reference about photographing Horsetails Falls is:
My photos below were shot from the south viewing point.

2/15/2012 5:05 pm  Warmth of sun warming rocks and making fog - still too high to give orange glow.
2/15/2012 5:14 pm Warmth of sun still making fog - width of light narrowing..
2/15/2012 5:22 pm Most of fog gone - width of light narrowing. Sun is beginning to glow.
2/15/2012 5:26pm Width of light continues to narrow. Sun is now low enough to be warm orange glow.
2/15/2012 5:32 pm Width of light continues to narrow. Sun is now low enough to be warmest orange glow. Sunset was at 5:37 pm. In another week, the light would have been so narrow that the rocks to the left of the falls would be in shadow,but still light the falls.

You may also like

Back to Top