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February phenomenon
Horsetail Fall 2
Horsetail Fall, Yosemite National Park - photo by Photo courtesy of Jack Kirchert

It is hard to beat the beauty of Yosemite looking into the Valley from the Tunnel View during a clearing of a storm, or standing on Sentinel Bridge during sunset and seeing the alpine glow on Half Dome with the reflection in the Merced River. But two weeks in late February, there is a phenomenon that happens in Yosemite that does not happen anywhere else in the world. There is an ephemeral waterfall named Horsetail Falls located on the east shoulder of El Capitan that at sunset will glow anywhere from yellow to lava red. And yes, if you are lucky enough with the right conditions, it looks like lava flowing. I was talking to a group of photographers on Feb. 20 that had been coming to this event for nine years and only got the shot once before. The conditions that you deal with are storms, low temperature and cloudy days. This year we had clear skies through most of this small window that this happens, but unfortunately, we are having a dry year. This results in little or no water in Horsetail Fall. I was lucky that on my second year, I was able to capture this beautiful event.