Friday, February 26, 2010

Yosemite & NANPA

Every year, in the two last weeks of February, the setting sun hits Horsetail Falls, located at the east Buttress of El Capitan, in such an angle, that the falling water glows like fire. Given that the sun is out, of course. Ever since the late Galen Rowell brought this phenomenon to the attention of the public, lots of photographers making a pilgrimage to the falls in these two weeks. And if time permits, so do I. It's always a gamble, even on the nicest day, the sun could disappear in a haze and the falls won't light up, while on a really overcast day, right at sunset the sun could peek out and lighten up the falls. Also the amount of water coming down and the wind are factors to be counted in. This was my fourth year trying to catch the perfect image, and I got some decent ones, but I still did not get that A+ image I'm after. Never mind though, gives me just the right excuse to go again next year...

And while you can only photograph the Horsetail Falls for about 10 minutes around sunset, you can play with everything else in the park, while you are there, for example with reflections:

In the early afternoon we were scouting out a new place to photograph Horsetail Falls, when we stumbled upon these absolutely round hollows in a huge rock. These were acorn grinding places of the former Yosemite natives, that now had filled with water. Later in the afternoon then, when we were waiting for the sunset to strike the Falls, I noticed the leaf and the reflection of the falls in the water filled holes.

Or with photographing rainbows. In the morning at the Yosemite Falls, like this double rainbow at the foot of the Lower Yosemite Fall.

And in the afternoon at Bridal Veil Falls

After the quick stop at Yosemite National Park, I then headed towards Reno for the 16th annual summit of NANPA (North American Nature Photographers Association). Sorry, no pictures here...

As last year, the program was fantastic and it was nice to meet old friends and make new ones.

My personal highlight of course was the presentation of the High School Scholarship program, since our son was one of the 10 high school students that got selected this year.

All the keynote speakers had striking stories to tell and it's great to see how much is done towards the conservation of our nature. Yes, we can...but we still have a long way to go! I my opinion, two projects stood out and I would like to share their environmental concerns with you:

Although I thought I know British Columbia quite well, I had never heard of the Sacred Headlands before. Lying in a remote northern corner of BC, the Sacred Headland are the birthplace of three major, salmon bearing rivers of BC. The BC Government has now permitted Shell to drill for coal-bed methane here, which would transform this pristine alpine basin into an industrial waste land. Please check out Paul Colangelos documentary website at:
and the Sacred Headwater website: for more information and help to spread the word!

The other project is actually an European project. The announcement in the NANPA program: “Europe is a whole lot more than cities, old castles and highways. But the amazingly rich natural heritage of this continent is still very little known, even among many Europeans. Nature photographers Staffan Widstrand, Florian Moellers and Peter Cairns [ and 66 other selected European nature photographer] set out to show the natural heritage of their continent to the 700 million Europeans and to the world.” made me really curious. Speechless I followed Staffan Widstrands presentation, absolutely amazing. Please take a moment and take a look at their website: