It’s so much fun to ask people, “What in the world is this?!”
They tilt their heads, quizzically, studying the photograph. Some immediately say, “It’s lava!” while others say, “Wait…there’s snow…how can that be?”
Welcome to the visual conundrum of “Firefall”, the natural phenomenon in Yosemite National Park.
What is it?
For a couple of weeks in February, the sun is perfectly lined up with Horsetail Falls in Yosemite National Park. If we are lucky, when the sun sets over the ocean, it cuts across the flat part of California and infuses Horsetail Falls with the same color of the sunset for all of ten minutes.
But it doesn’t always happen. There are so many variables involved that there can be years in between that the phenomenon doesn’t appear.
For instance, there may not be enough snow, or melting snow, for there to be a waterfall. And even if there is, humidity and cloud cover affect the appearance of Firefall.
This gorgeous and rare photograph took William 18 years to capture. Notice the details—the cragginess in the granite, the reflection in the mist, and the pine tree at the top that glows in the sun’s last warmth of the day. This picture was taken on a little known path, very far away, and yet every single detail can be seen. All the details add up to an exquisite moment of time and beauty.
This is the world of William Carr…his photographs are the gateways to that world. Come experience it for yourself in The William Carr Gallery.