Viral pictures show Yosemite’s “firefall” phenomenon glowing in California


“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.

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Yosemite’s ‘firefall’ phenomenon is here, but visitors say getting there is ‘treacherous and unsafe’. via Instagram

“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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Dancing Fire ? It’s almost that time of the year again! When I first moved to the Bay Area I remember coming across an article about the “Firefall” phenomenon and wondering to myself if I would ever have a chance to witness it in person. Through a series of small serendipities, I somehow managed to catch Firefall my first and only trip to Yosemite so far two years ago. We originally chose this particular weekend thinking it’d be too early for Firefall and going earlier to avoid the usual craziness during this period. A photographer we came across during sunrise mentioned Firefall might be happening due to the clear sky conditions. We kept that in mind but almost passed up on the opportunity when we were adamant about searching for some epic puddle reflections. Thankfully we missed our turn (Yosemite Valley is a one way street) and then saw a large number of photographers assembled in one area. “It must be happening!” And so we abandoned reflection hunting and camped out with everyone. Best decision made ever. What unexpected adventures or experiences have you had so far? Check out my new blog post (link in profile) for a guide to shooting Firefall. . . . . #wildbayarea #wildcalifornia #visitcalifornia #passionpassport #bucketlisters #sonyimages #sonyalpha #tlpicks #awesomeearth #GS10k #instagood10k #creative_ace #cc5k #visualmobs #theimaged #shotzdelight #aov5k #omd_5k #creativeoptic #ourcolourdays #fatalframes10k #moods_in_frame #vol10k #visualambassadors #discoverer #earth_shotz #heatercentral #gramslayers

Ein Beitrag geteilt von Alice | SF + Travel (@alicethieu) am

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[SF Gate, Quarz]


  1. My mother and I spent the last five days of her life in Yosemite. It was her favorite place in the world.
    When she was younger, she got to see the REAL firefall. It was a summertime event where they would shove burning embers over the edge of Glacier Point 3000 ft down to the valley below. This was done from 1872 to 1968. Now the natural event mirrors the old. Beautiful. And less chance of a fire!

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