“Firefall”: Nature-loving photographers are flocking to California’s Yosemite National Park to witness a particularly unique phenomenon that shimmers for a brief moment of winter.
“Firefall” occurs when the setting sun reflects off of Horsetail Falls at a certain angle, making the waterfall emit a fiery orange glow. It is highly dependent on environmental factors: If the skies are cloudy, that orange light will not hit the east side of El Capitan – the vertical rock formation where the falls are located – and the phenomenon won’t occur.
The event brings in waves of tourists and photography enthusiasts in the dead of winter. SF Gate spoke to visitors who had to weigh trudging for hours through waist-deep snow against walking along restricted roads, risking a hefty ticket from rangers. What’s more, those wanting to stake out a good vantage point had to arrive several hours early and wait in the cold for the firefall to appear.
Here are some others incredible shots from people who apparently made one or more of those decisions:
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