Yosemite is not one to hold back on its magnificent surprises. And it's no different in February, when for two weeks the setting sun sends its last rays in just the right spot to make Horsetail Falls seem to be flowing with lava. But the odds of seeing the phenomenon are very little, as there are many variables involved. Nonetheless I made my way to the park to try my luck.

The main weather condition needed is a cloudless horizon. This allows for the sun rays to travel without being diffused by clouds or mist, hitting the water that drops down the side of El Capitan just right. Well, as you can see in the pictures, the horizon was filled with clouds and mist, so it didn't look promising. We walked The Valley floor for a couple hours scouting for a good location to set our tripods in.

Another important condition is that enough snow needs to melt in the high Sierras in order to feed Horsetail Falls; otherwise there is no waterfall. Luckily enough, the mix of thundering rain in the past week with just the right amount of snow made for a good visible stream of water.

As sunset approached, I started to see the clouds dissipate in the distance, and like magic, the sun star started to become harsher in-between the woods of The Valley. Maybe we had a chance afterall.

Then just like that, the rays of sun started to dance in front of our eyes. It went up and down for a good twenty minutes, finally hitting the flowing water mist and nude rock. Like in a science fiction movie, the see-through water started glowing shades of orange and red. The odds worked in our favor, and I couldn't help but lose my breath.

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  • tnkarts

    Amazing photos! ❤️❤️

  • leonaguila

    Simply jaw-dropping images. All your photos had that warm glow or eerie darkness and such dramatic atmosphere. That video could have been from Mount Mordor of Lord Of The Rings! Spectacular!

  • bregisback

    Mesmerizing! And your photos are breathtaking!

  • arthurgalvao

    @tnkarts thanks so much!!

  • arthurgalvao

    @leonaguila you're so sweet, thank you so much! I really did feel like I was in Lord of The Rings or an Indiana Jones movie when the water turned red, it was a truly truly memorable and surreal experience! I can't recommend enough going next year!

  • arthurgalvao

    @bregisback thank you so much!! 😉🙏🏼

  • McKaskey

    Wonderful shots! Bravo. I grew up backpacking there and in much of the western mountains and miss it very much. Thank you for bringing me home to peaceful memories.

  • arthurgalvao

    @McKaskey thank you so much Dennis, you really made my day! The Sierras are my haven and where I go to get away from all the city buzz, and I'm glad I could at least bring you back some memories!!