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When TLC told us not to go chasing waterfalls, I’m sure they didn’t have something like the Yosemite “Firefall” in mind. Yes, you read that right: Firefall. Now, before you go running for the hills screaming that you’re being chased by lava or that the world is coming to end, take a breath. The phenomenon of the firefall is a quite natural, and completely scientific occurrence in nature. Sorry Mulder, but you can sit this one out – the firefall is decidedly not an X-File, but rather another example of how awe-inspiring nature can be.

Every February at Horsetail Falls in Yosemite, there’s a small window of time that, when conditions prove to be just right, the falls transform into what many have dubbed the firefall. The famed Horsetail Falls waterfall will resemble molten lava cascading down El Captain when sunlight hits the water at just the right angle. This brief two-week period in February where the weather and sun conditions (usually during sunset) can illuminate the waterfalls and make the water look like a bright, glowing orange has become a must-see and capture event for many photographers.

It’s a rare occurrence, and conditions have to be absolutely perfect in order for the Horsetail Falls to masquerade as a breathtaking flow of lava, but some lucky photographers this year were able to witness and capture the spectacle and natural wonder. But a picture is worth a thousand words, so sit back and let some of these beautiful Instagram images of Yosemite’s firefall do all the talking for me.

*** Night On Earth *** As you may know this past weekend I was in #YosemiteValley in hopes of catching the great #Firefall phenomenon that occurs only about 10 days a year when the setting sun illuminates Horsetail Falls for a few minutes, giving the impression of lava flowing down the side of El Capitan. Conditions did not come together on Friday, but Saturday night was truly special. I saw what I believe was "Firefall Actual" 🙂 the orange glow on the Falls was truly stunning to see in person. Also stunning was how crowded it was. 1000s of photographers packed along the coast, many who camped out from 8am in the morning. Luckily i had my waders with me on this trip so I simply stepped a bit into the Merced River for this view 🙂 Shot alongside and met up with some amazing photographer folk this weekend including: @kurtzmanos @77slade @laly0021 @taylorgrayphoto @mazmanphotography @jennkichinko @jude_allen @csharrison and @_jonathanmitchell_ and 1000s of others!

A photo posted by Vincent James (@vincentjamesphotography) on

Got to watch this volcano blow it's top over the weekend. ———————– So the first thing that came to my mind about shooting Horse Tail Falls was "if everyone jumps off a bridge would you"? The reason is because while on a mad dash to shoot this after spending the day atop Upper Yosemite Falls (sorry, but no way I was waiting an entire day in Yosemite at one spot – when I spoke to a park ranger around 7:30am after shooting sunrise he mentioned people were already lined up…) I saw a relatively empty spot that had a few trees with orange leaves that I thought would be an amazing frame for the orange glow of the waterfall. However, because I spent absolutely zero time scouting locations, I decided to push on and look for what seemed to be a better view of the actual falls (a.k.a. where more photographers were). I ended up joining one of the larger groups of roughly 100+ people close to the El Cap picnic area. Although I didn't get a unique shot by any stretch of the imagination, the experience was still very cool, as it was surreal to see so many people, not just photographers, hoping to catch a glimpse of this rare occurrence. The joyous party-like atmosphere made it quite the experience and was nothing like I had seen before at a National Park. Even though I hate crowds, I am very glad people had such an interest in getting out and seeing Mother Nature at its finest, in one of the most stunning landscapes of our National Park systems! So yes, to answer the question – if everyone jumps off a bridge, then I may just do so too (one time at least) ?. —————————– #earthfocus #artofvisuals #welltraveled #welivetoexplore #fypyes #ourplanetdaily #keepitwild #liveauthentic #theoutbound #earthpix #wonderful_places #travelawesome #grammasters3 #rawcalifornia #canon_photos #in2nature #neverstopexploring #exploremore #huffpostgram #wilderness397 #letsgosomewhere #feedbacknation #nationalpark #exklusive_shot #wildcalifornia #liveoutdoors #horsetailfalls #popupgallerysf #popupxgs #ttwaterfall

A photo posted by Devon Spencer (@heyguystudios) on

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