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David J Grenier Fine Art Photography

The Wondrous Nature of Yosemite, May 2014

Yosemite National Park, to me, has always been a place of wonder, a place to get back in touch with nature, a place of awe at the sight of the most magnificent granite structures that dominate the Yosemite Valley, a place that reminds you of the presence of a Supreme Being, and as a result, a place that I like to call 'The Granite Cathedral'! In this blog I would like to highlight a couple of phenomena that occurs in Yosemite National Park annually, that makes this place even more special - 'The Horsetail Falls Phenomena' and 'The Yosemite Falls Moonbow'. While the moonbow is not specifically unique to Yosemite, as it does occur in other places in the world (Victoria Falls, Africa, Big Island, Hawaii, the cloud forest in Costa Rica, etc.), the 'Horsetail Falls Phenomena is truly one of a kind to Yosemite. They both require several conditions to be present on any given day for it to occur and be seen, each at specific times of the year, and when these conditions do occur they result in simply wondrous sights that I have been fortunate to witness and capture with a DSLR camera.

'Horsetail Falls Phenomena'

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For a few weeks in February, if the water is flowing in Horsetail Fall, and there are no clouds in the western sky, photographers and park visitors gather in the waning evening light for an amazing natural display.  The Horsetail Fall phenomenon appears when the angle of the setting sun sets the waterfall ablaze with reds and oranges, like a fire was falling down the cliffs on the shoulder of El Capitan. The first image above was shot from a location on South Side Drive, and the one below it from the El Capitan picnic area on North Side Drive in Yosemite Valley.

The Yosemite Falls Moonbow

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The image of 'The Yosemite Falls Moonbow' above, also know as a lunar rainbow, was shot at 10:45 pm, 14 May, 2014, at Lower Yosemite Falls. It occurs at night, around the full moon, during the months of April, May and June. The conditions required for this phenomena to occur are a clear sky, enough wind at the bottom of the falls to create the necessary mist, and of course enough water to come over the falls to create the required mist. Some years are better than others, and some days around the full moon are also better than others. As with most landscape photography, a certain element of luck is required, but the more you research, plan ahead and work hard, the 'luckier' one seems to get!

Enjoy!

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