I just returned from a fabulous ten day trip to California to photograph Yosemite and the west coast. I packed my bags expecting a good amount of snow in Yosemite (it is, after all, winter time...) and to my surprise, I was greeted with warm temperatures and no moisture whatsoever. It was rather disappointing to be honest - I was excited to camp out in the back-country and capture some beautiful winter scenes but instead had to make do with the dry, rather barren looking landscape. Even the many waterfalls that peak their flows during the winter months had almost run dry. It was sheer luck that it had rained the week before I arrived, providing any water at all. Rumor was that every waterfall was bone dry the before it had rained.
Knowing that there was at least some water flowing from the falls, I prepared myself for a spectacular phenomenon that only occurs a few days a year from about February 15th - February 21st: the Yosemite Firefall. It is during these six days that the angle of the sun is just right to light up Horsetail Falls with the last orange glow of daylight. Not only does the Firefall only happen a few days a year, but the conditions during February are almost never ideal for spotting this amazing sight because it happens to be one of the cloudiest months of the year and often people will stand around every single day waiting for the sun to peep out only to be thwarted away without ever having seen the firefall. I was very fortunate that the day I arrived, the skies were clear, because the rest of my trip there was cloudy and the firerfall never came out again! Unfortunately this is the third year of California's drought, so the falls were pretty weak, but it was still an amazing sight nonetheless!
After leaving Yosemite, I spent several days driving the coast and capturing some amazing sights along the way. I made it as far south as Big Sur (beautiful!) before heading back up to San Francisco for some final shots of the Golden Gate Bridge. Camping out along the way was fabulous - the stars we stunning along the coast and the weather was perfect. It's always a struggle to leave the coast, as it's one of my favorite places to shoot. I always fly away with a burning desire to stay longer... looks like I'll just have to plan another trip out West soon!