Morning sunlight on Yosemite Falls, Yosemite NP, CA, USA

Morning sunlight on Yosemite Falls, Yosemite NP, CA, USA

After a very dry February the weather pattern has changed, with a series of storms dumping large quantities of rain and snow on California this weekend. Yosemite Valley received almost four inches of rain since Friday as a wet “atmospheric river” lined up to hit the northern and central parts of our state.

It was a warm system, with snow levels over 8,000 feet during most of the storm. The dry, sunny weather over the last month had already created exceptionally high flows in Yosemite’s waterfalls for this time of year, but all that rain over the last few days gave them an extra boost. I drove up to Yosemite Valley this morning and found the waterfalls roaring. They looked more like May than March. And there were small, ephemeral waterfalls everywhere.

Before the storm started to clear this morning I photographed Lower Yosemite Fall in soft light, and then as the sun began breaking through I decided to stay and photograph the upper and lower falls. The sun reaches this waterfall earlier in the morning during March than it does in April or May, making the light much more interesting. You don’t get many opportunities to photograph it this time of year with so much water – and with mist around the upper fall. Here’s one of the photos from this morning.

Another storm is predicted to arrive tonight, but this one should be much colder, with snow levels dropping down to 4,000 or even 3,000 feet. That could mean snow for Yosemite Valley for the first time since January. Can’t wait!

— Michael Frye

Did you like this article? Click here to subscribe to this blog and get every new post delivered right to your inbox!

Michael Frye is a professional photographer specializing in landscapes and nature. He is the author or principal photographer of The Photographer’s Guide to Yosemite, Yosemite Meditations, Yosemite Meditations for Women, Yosemite Meditations for Adventurers, and Digital Landscape Photography: In the Footsteps of Ansel Adams and the Great Masters. He has also written three eBooks: Light & Land: Landscapes in the Digital Darkroom, Exposure for Outdoor Photography, and Landscapes in Lightroom: The Essential Step-by-Step Guide. Michael has written numerous magazine articles on the art and technique of photography, and his images have been published in over thirty countries around the world. Michael has lived either in or near Yosemite National Park since 1983, currently residing just outside the park in Mariposa, California.