Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Horsetail Falls III

It's February and it's the time of the year again, when Horsetail Falls acts like a very strong Photographers magnet....( for more info about why, check out my February 2010 blog)
This year even more so, as the media discovered this natural phenomenon, and we all know what that means.

The weather forecast was promising, but since it hadn't snowed much, how much water would be in the falls to light up?
Oh well, a gamble like always!

The first evening, or rather afternoon, found us two hours before sunset, ready with warm clothes, camping chairs and lots of expectations, at the spot we chose for photographing that evening. The reason we were so early was, that parking is very limited, and since Horsetail Falls was all over the news, we just wanted to be safe.
Over the next two hours more and more people arrived, but also more and more clouds filled the sky. By 5.30 pm most of the onlookers had left, when suddenly, very faint at first, a golden glow seemed to come from the bottom as well as from the top of the falls.

All excited I turned around to alert the other photographers, just to discover that not only most, but all except for my friend Cherie and one other gentlemen had left. Well, too bad for them.

The glow grew more intense by the minute...

...and delivered a show I can't get tired of witnessing.

Then, with the last rays of the sun, the falls turned dark red, a color even I haven't seen before. Absolutely stunning!

What an evening!
The weather forecast for the next day was very promising and we were looking forward to another great day of photographing.
Our plan was to get up really early to capture the sunrise at Valley View. Unfortunately I forgot to explain this to our alarm clock, and we woke up as it was already bright day....and to our dismay, completely overcast...so much for that.

But Yosemite is a beautiful place no matter the weather, and after a hearty breakfast we went out to explore. As mentioned, there was not much snowfall this year, so everything was rather brown. But since there was not much water in the Merced river either, it's flow was very slow and basically begged for reflection shots:

Valley View

We were happy to oblige! Monochrome it is.

Yosemite Falls from Swinging Bridge

And again, two hours before sunset, we were ready and excited, back at out favorite spot. Since the weather forecast has been really good, and the news kept spreading the word, a lot of people showed up. We were really happy to have been there in time! Excitement rose when around 5.34 pm the falls faintly started to light up, but fell ever so fast, when a cloud covered the sun and the spectacle ended before it had even started...nature...

But then, all of sudden the sky started to turn really colorful and illuminated the valley with a glowing pink.

El Capitan

I was really puzzled that everybody had left, understandably disappointed about the falls, but missing this amazing light show...

Cathedral Rocks

The next morning the alarm clock cooperated with our wishes, and we got some nice colors at Valley View before the sun rose.

Happy and with full flash cards we said good bye to the park and went home.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

February Conservation Tip

Join a CSA

You already going to the farmers market, but you really would like to do more?
Join a local CSA.
The sign ups for the 2012 growing season are starting now and filling up fast with a growing demand for local food.

What exactly is a CSA?

Community Supported Agriculture is not really new, but is getting more and more popular in recent years. The idea is easy: the farmer sells "shares" of  the produce he will produce during the growing season, mostly fruit and vegetables, often also eggs, honey and maybe even meat. This gives the farmer the advantage of marketing his crop before the season really starts and having a much better idea of how much to plant. The "share holder" therefore will get fresh, local and mostly organic produce on a weekly basis. Also farmer and consumer get to know each other, often CSA farms offer open houses or you can/have to pick up the produce at the farm. A great opportunity especially for kids to learn where the produce does come from and how it grows.

Another plus, as I see it, is that you get a feeling for what is in season and when. In a time where you can by strawberries and tomatoes year round, it gives you a pointer back to eating with the seasons. And chances are, you discover new fruits and vegetables to be simply delicious that you have never tried before.

Check out the  LOCAL HARVEST  website for more info and to find a CSA near you.