Horsetail Falls at Sunset

Well, I had an opportunity to get out to Yosemite to try and capture the famous, natural firefall, ‘Horsetail Falls’ at sunset. Where to go though. Through a few e-mails from Dave Miller from “Bay Area Outdoors and Beyond” blog, I decided on Southside Drive instead of the more famous Nothside Drive location.

Figuring I’d make a whole day, I got up at 4:15 AM to try and photograph sun rise at Tunnel View. That was a bust, so I went down to the valley and find the Southside location. I thought I saw it, but I missed the turn off. It was early so I decided to photograph Yosemite Falls from Swing Bridge and make my way back. I drove over to Nothside Drive, to the El Capitan picnic area. I saw what I needed and decided to stay.

It was around 11 AM so I had lunch and tried to get some sleep. I never slept. A few hours later some photographers started showing up. I finally had an opportunity to meet Edie from “View from the Red Tent” blog. I had e-mailed her years ago, but it was great to finally meet her. What a hoot…nuff said!

I met a lot of great people that day and I’ll post the rest of the images later. Here’s my best best capture from that evening….

Horsetail Falls Sunset

Mike Matenkosky

Mike is a Central Valley California landscape and nature photographer whose subjects include scenes from Merced County, Yosemite, SeKi, and the eastern Sierra. He is currently living in Atwater, CA.

The text and photographs are © Copyright Mike Matenkosky (or others when indicated) and are not in the public domain and may not be used on websites, blogs, or in other media without advance permission from Mike Matenkosky.


  1. AWESOME!! On our bucket list is Yosemite!


  2. Great shot Mike, I really envy you being so close to Yosemite. Love your work.


  3. Great Mike! Glad you got there and you had light. It was overcast the whole day in the bay area and I was hoping you had different conditions! I saw the shot was from El Cap Picnic area and figured you liked the parking lot location.

    Yosemite in winter is awesome! It’s pretty addictive isn’t it.


  4. Thanks Karla. Remember, Yosemite isn’t going to move any time soon!

    I really appreciate your help Dave. I was torn between the two spots. I’ve seen a photo from the Southside Drive from the same night and it looked like that location gave the best “Firefall” presentation that night. I’m still pleased with it!

    Next year….


  5. Beautiful!! I’m so happy it worked out for you 🙂


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