In my post about Horsetail Fall from February 1st I said that the ideal scenario would include a stretch of warm clear days during the peak window of light. Well we’re in that window, the weather is warm and clear, and there’s plenty of water in the fall, so conditions are perfect. It looks like somebody’s going to get some good Horsetail photos this week. The one caveat is that clouds have partially blocked the light the last few evenings. Even with mostly clear skies, a few thin clouds to the west near sunset can dull the glow. Also, the same conditions that have been bringing lots of fog to the Central Valley can create low-hanging clouds along the ridges just west of Yosemite Valley, blocking the light late in the day.

This warm weather has encouraged some flowers to bloom in the Sierra foothills, but so far I haven’t seen or heard about any poppies. Normally I wouldn’t even be thinking about poppies this early, but last year I saw them blooming on February 21st. Of course, that turned out to be the best poppy year ever in the Merced River Canyon west of Yosemite (see my posts from February, March, and April of 2009), and it’s unlikely that will happen again this year.