Archive for January, 2009

Looking for Snow, Mist, and Clouds….

Wednesday, January 28th, 2009

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.

Speaking of Horsetail, I didn’t see much water in it. Since the cold temperatures slowed melting, that was no surprise. But there was little snow on top of El Capitan, Horsetail’s source, which does not bode well for next month. We received lots of precipitation last Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, but the snow level was too high, and most of that precipitation fell as rain on El Cap’s summit. The “storm” Sunday was weak, and added at most a few inches to the snowpack. So we need a good snowstorm or two in the next couple of weeks. Nothing in the forecast so far…

Lots of Rain

Saturday, January 24th, 2009


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.

Storms always create the potential for great photographs, especially during a break or as they clear. I’ll be alert for these breaks during the next few days. Snow would be nice!

Best Time to Photograph Horsetail Fall

Tuesday, January 20th, 2009

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.

Yosemite Photo Conditions

Monday, January 19th, 2009

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.

The forecast calls for possible showers later this week, so I’m hoping for some more interesting weather!

First Post

Sunday, January 18th, 2009

Welcome to my blog. I’ll be posting news, tips, updates on Yosemite photo conditions, new images, and much more. I look forward to hearing your comments!