Pursuit of the Firefall

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I remember the first time that I saw an image of the Last light on Horsetail Falls, Yosemite by Galen Rowell. In 1973 he was one of the first photographers to capture this iconic image.  My sister and I were on one our road trips along the Eastern Sierras and we stopped in Bishop, CA for the night. We wandered around town and found Mountain Light Gallery and went in. The gallery images were breathtaking and inspiring to me. Galen Rowell described his style of photography as “a continuing pursuit in which the art becomes the adventure, and vice-versa.” I was hooked! Because he was ‘local’, it meant that some of his locations were attainable to me as well. These were adventures that I could pursue and hope to mimic some of his artistry as well. But a funny thing happened along the way in this pursuit of the shot; I found that being “present” in my environment meant so much more than just getting the shot.

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‘Yes’ I’m a lemming that travels to Yosemite during February to get the ultimate shot of the Firefall. I park and wait for hours for that ten minute window when the setting sun sets and starts to illuminate Horsetail Falls. I also talk with other photographers and listen to their stories of their ‘first time’ seeing the mountain go from golden yellow to an intense lava red in a stream of glory. My follow photographers and site seers alike commiserate and then become awestruck by this phenomenon.  I’ve been disappointed when the weather conditions didn’t cooperate. I’ve scouted different angles and vantage points and was vexed many times.  And yet, this is my adventure and I find that each time I enjoy it so much. Maybe, my photo will inspire others to seek out their own adventures. Who knows…

 

 

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