Yosemite Horsetail Fall update, February 2020

On Thursday night I returned from a week in Yosemite following back-to-back workshops there. The featured goal of my first workshop was to photograph the full moon; the highlight of the second workshop was supposed to be Horsetail Fall. The moon cooperated wonderfully, but Horsetail Fall…? Well…, I’ve got some good news and some bad news… First, the good news… Despite reports to the…

Horsetail Fall: Let the Mayhem Begin

Later this week I hope to have a new blog post featuring something from the fantastic Death Valley Winter Moon workshop that just wrapped up yesterday. In the meantime, with Horsetail Fall season just a month away, I’ve dusted off and polished my Horsetail Fall photo tips article.  For eleven-plus months each year, Horsetail Fall may just be Yosemite’s most anonymous waterfall. Usually dry or…

Endless Possibilities

This picture from last February features two beautiful photographic phenomena, one with (literally) thousands of cameras trained on it, the other virtually ignored. You might be surprised to learn that for most, the “main event” about to take place in this scene wasn’t the moonrise, it was the light on the thin stripe of waterfall trickling down the diagonal shoulder of El Capitan (the top…

A Horsetail of a Different Color

Last week’s Yosemite photo workshop was ostensibly about Horsetail Fall, but it turned out to be so much more than that. In fact, after photographing more snow than I’ve seen in Yosemite in many (many) years, Horsetail Fall was a bit anticlimactic. The only evening that Horsetail Fall got the coveted direct light everyone came on our second day. Going all-in on Horsetail Fall…

Supermoon

The media tends to distort facts and blow events out of proportion. Perhaps you’ve noticed. The latest example is this week’s “supermoon,” an event heralded on TV, in print, and online like the Second Coming. Okay, now for a little perspective. Despite hype to the contrary, a supermoon occurs at least twice, and up to five times, in a year. In fact, our last supermoon was all the way back…

Stop the madness

For some background, read about photographing Horsetail Fall Anyone who doesn’t understand what all the Horsetail hubbub’s about hasn’t seen it. When all the conditions align—ample water (rain and/or snowmelt), sun position,  and unobstructed sunset light—there’s nothing in the world that compares. And while these convergences are rare, that doesn’t seem to deter the gawkers who show up to witness it. Conventional wisdom says that…

A Horsetail of a different color

I just returned from my 2016 Yosemite Horsetail Fall photo workshop. I’ve the photographed the midday light shafts at Upper Antelope Canyon, Schwabacher Landing at sunrise, Mesa Arch at sunrise, winter sunset at Pfeiffer Arch, and Horsetail fall each February for over ten years. But nothing compares to the mayhem I witnessed this weekend at Horsetail Fall. Not even close. I’ll be writing more about…

Light fantastic: A photographer’s guide to our most essential subject

Photograph: “Photo” comes from phos, the Greek word for light; “graph” is from graphos, the Greek word for write. And that’s pretty much what photographers do: Write with light. Good light, bad light Because we have no control over the sun, nature photographers spend a lot of time hoping for “good” light and cursing “bad” light (despite the fact that there is no universal definition of…

Four sunsets, part two: Classic Horsetail

Read the first in the series here: Four sunsets, part one: A Horsetail of a different color While we’d been incredibly fortunate with our Monday night Horsetail Fall shoot, we didn’t get the molten glow everyone covets (though I’d argue, and several agreed, we got something better). Nevertheless, based on the relatively clear skies, I decided to take everyone back for one more try on…

Four sunsets, part one: A Horsetail of a different color

If the National Weather Service website were human, it would have long ago slapped me with a restraining order. You see, California is in the throes of an unprecedented drought that has shriveled lakes, rivers, creeks, and reduced even the most robust waterfalls to a trickle. With my Yosemite Horsetail Fall (which on a good day is rarely more than a thin white stripe…