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Dustin Gent wrote:
Ok, glad I searched before making a new thread about this. I am embarrassed to admit this, but it wasn't until after I booked the plane tickets and time off of work that I even knew that Horsetail lit up in February .
Is it a nightmare trying to set up? I had the worst experience at Mesa Arch last winter due to workshop after workshop.. I guess I will find out next Friday lol. I would love to try my hand at the shot, but I am not going to post up for 3-4 hours when I am...Show more →
Well that is some good luck on your part.
First off, yes it will be crowded to shoot Horsetail Falls. But no, it's not like at Mesa Arch where there is literally just one spot to stand in for the signature shot and the other photographers crowd in as much as possible. With Horsetail Falls, there will easily be 100-200 people photographing it, but the good news is there is more wiggle room to set up for the shot. The limiting factor here really is parking. There just aren't many places for people to park. So unless you want to park a mile away and hike into one of the shooting locations, you need to get a good 2 hours before sunset, and I would suggest 3 hours.
There are two primary spots that people set up in to shoot it, there are a couple more places it can be seen, but there are two that most people flock to. First is in the El Capitan Picnic area, with that one you are pretty close to being underneath it, so you won't see the top of the falls area, but it's still a good shot, and there are a couple of places in the picnic area that give a good view, so you don't have to feel too crowded. The other is the Location A on the map I will attach. If I am wrong and it's Location B, someone correct me. That area will have more people in it, but the parking is really limited, so people have to hike in, or someone will drop them off, as you have to hike in just a bit from the road to get down by the Merced River to get a clear view.
This map is one Henry Wakefield made up a few years ago, the pins on the map don't all identify shooting locations, simply locations of interest.
As to whether it's worth it with you having so little time there. I would suggest you do try it, it's no where near as combative an atmosphere like at Mesa Arch. Here, it's just a lot of photographers hanging out and waiting for the light, it's quite fun really.
I am not sure how many days you will have, but say you have 3 evenings, I would do it like this depending on the weather.
1. Sunset Friday night - Horsetail Falls
2. Sunset Saturday night - Tunnel Overview
3. Sunset Sunday night - Half Dome from Sentinal Bridge or Cooks Meadow, etc...
Check the forecast... the clearest night, I would shoot Horsetail Falls, as it's easily a no show if the slightest bit of clouds are on the western horizon. If there looks like good clouds, then do the Tunnel Overview... so be flexible of course, but those would be my deciding factors as to which evening to shoot what.
Hope that helps, and I am sure you will have fun. If only there was some snow in the forecast I would be up there with you!