I got up early Monday morning and drove to Yosemite Valley, hoping for snow, mist, and clouds. Cold temperatures inhibited mist development, but there was half an inch of fresh snow, just enough to outline every tree. I made this image of alder branches overhanging the Merced River near the “new” Horsetail Fall view along Southside Drive.
In the Moment:
Michael Frye's Landscape Photography Blog
It’s been raining here in Mariposa and Yosemite almost continuously for over 48 hours. The snow level is high, around 8000 feet, but is supposed to lower to 4000 feet – about the level of Yosemite Valley – tonight and Sunday. Precipitation is predicted to continue into Monday and maybe Tuesday. Keep it coming! We need it.
For years my friend and fellow photographer Keith Walklet and I have been debating this question: When is the best time to photograph Horsetail Fall (at right)? Sometime in February, for sure, but when exactly? Keith thought it was closer to the middle of the month, while I always maintained that it was later. To get the answer, I was able to gain unique access to archives from one of the Yosemite Association’s web cams. And the answer is… around February 12th to 22nd. So Keith was probably closer to being right than I was, but there are a lot of variables. You can read a full-length article on my web site that explains all the details.
We’ve had a long spell of dry weather. You can find old snow in shaded areas, but nothing very photogenic. The good news is that warm temperatures have increased the flow in the waterfalls. While nothing like April or May, Yosemite Falls has a decent flow now, and much better light than in spring. The upper fall (right) gets early morning sunlight, and you can see rainbows near Cook’s Meadow (location 12 in my Photographer’s Guide to Yosemite book) around 8 a.m. Half Dome and El Capitan also get their best light in winter. Try Cook’s Meadow and Sentinel Bridge (location 11) for Half Dome, and Valley View (5) and Cathedral Beach (9) for El Capitan. Half Dome is best from late afternoon until sunset. El Capitan can be good in either morning or evening.
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