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Re: Fire & Ice

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avatar Fire & Ice
February 12, 2009 08:15PM
I have made up my mind that I am gonna go for it the weekend of Feb 20-21 and see this FireFall that everyone has been talking about and get some skiing in, too. My plan is to go up Fri afternoon, view the fall, camp outside the park, get up Sat morn and ski Badger Pass. I need some feedback on:

1) Is the road to Badger Pass decently plowed up to the ski resort (this will help decide whether I bring the everyday truck, or the Dodge Ram on steriods complete with 4 wheel drive, etc)

2) what time should I be staking out my "claim" for the viewing of the falls (how early should I park and sit so that I dont blow it by not being set up in time)

3) Is it going to be mass confusion to try to naviGuess my way back to the entrance in the dark after the viewing

4) I will be borrowing a Nikon D-80 digital camera (the SLR type) that I have already experimented a bit by setting it at aperature preferance and shooting that way, but I have very little experience with night photography (I shot some fireworks once). Any tips about aperature, shutter speed, etc etc.

Of course, this is all based on some positive thinking that a storm window will open up just for me and my pursuit of fun!

thanks a lot for any help

B
avatar Re: Fire & Ice
February 12, 2009 09:25PM
i'm not familiar with Badger Pass, so i can't help you there.

but i am with the Fall... you need to be there right around sunset (so you won't be in the dark durng this at all).

a nikon D80 is a nice camera, if you want to be safe, take a few pictures on the AUTO setting.

if i were you, i'd get there way ahead of time.. it's nice to meet people interested in the same thing you are doing, and you can get their help and opinions whilie waiting. give yourself enough time to make adjustments and corrections. take a few test photos while you're there.
avatar Re: Fire & Ice
February 12, 2009 09:38PM
They keep the road to Badger Pass plowed. Chains are required if driving a car (like I do - a Toyota Echo). Some times 4 wheel drive and/or vehicles with snow tires can go w/out chains.

I plan on going up this coming Monday for the evening view of Horsetail Falls.

avatar Re: Fire & Ice
February 12, 2009 09:57PM
forrestranger:>>if i were you, i'd get there way ahead of time.. it's nice to meet people interested in the same thing you are doing, and you can get their help and opinions whilie waiting. give yourself enough time to make adjustments and corrections. take a few test photos while you're there.<<

Good advice -- especially since theres no control of events once the clock starts running. Actually, I am looking forward to doing some chatting with fellow enthusiasts. Most of my photo experience is with extreme light of the desert, so my experience has been with removing light, instead of low light.

sierranomad:>>Chains are required if driving a car (like I do - a Toyota Echo)<<

Boy this is a useful tip, because my everyday truck is the smallest Toyota Tacoma with no chains, snow tires, etc, and the first article I read made it sound like the road to the ski area was kept in dandy condition. It sounds like the Ram is in order for it's already tricked out for the snow.

B
avatar Re: Fire & Ice
February 12, 2009 11:44PM
Here's what I experienced last year. I've been trying to get a decent picture of the firefall several years to no luck. Bad timing, bad waterfall, all that. Last year just pissed me off.

I got into the valley in plenty of time, around 3 p.m., but spent way too much time in the gift shop and didn't get to the staging area till just before the show started.

The road was plowed just beyond driving range and I promptly got my car stuck in the snow berm. So spent the firefall time trying to get unstuck. I could've left the car hanging half-assed out into the road but the rangers were patrolling. The traffic sucked and I got a really bad attitude.

Won't happen this year. Will be there way ahead of time, and this time in a 4x4 not a compact car, and if this weather keeps up, it'll be cloudy anyway.

Which isn't all that bad, btw...
avatar Re: Fire & Ice
February 12, 2009 11:46PM
I forgot to say I'm taking Feb. 20 off work. Cya there B.
avatar Re: Fire & Ice
February 13, 2009 07:39AM
This will be my first time trying to shoot (video) the firefall.

Where is the best place to shoot it?

Anybody else going to try on Monday? Hmmm. Just thought about Vince's comment about the clouds. Probably won't be a firefall on Monday. Oh well. Still will go, who knows. Regardless, I'll have a great time spending a day in the best place on earth.



Post Edited (02-13-09 07:42)
avatar Re: Fire & Ice
February 13, 2009 08:28AM
Vince: >>So spent the firefall time trying to get unstuck.<<

So goes the story of many of my photo expeditions; I actually quit taking the camera after one harrowing experience, but maybe good planning will help this time...!

Vince:>>I forgot to say I'm taking Feb. 20 off work. Cya there B.<<

Yeah, Ill be easy to spot: the one fumbling with all the unfamiliar equip and the tripod leg falling off at the last minute (that actually happened!)

sierranomad :>>Probably won't be a firefall on Monday. <<

thats sorta why I worked a ski trip in with the photo stuff -- just in case there's no sun (not that any trip to Yosemite is a waste)

B
Re: Fire & Ice
February 13, 2009 09:17AM

Went to the valley yesterday. Snow levels have been pretty low, and it snowed in Oakhurst tuesday and weds night. Chains were required just past oakhurst. Took us 1-1/2 hrs to get to the valley.

It was foggy/ snowing all the way to the last big bend in the road before the tunnel, but in the valley it was clear and sunny. So even if cloudy weather is predicted, you just never know. Yosemite can surprise you.

Bridalveil falls and the trail by there was incredibly beautiful. We waded through a foot of fluffy snow, and the trees looked like they were covered in whipped cream. This area is protected from the sun so i guess it stays snowier.

Also snowshoed mariposa grove, that was fun!

I'm looking forward to seeing all of you guys shots of the firefall.
avatar Re: Fire & Ice
February 13, 2009 09:47AM
I was just checking the CalTrans webcams and currently I-80 is shut down due to the fluffy stuff. Let's hope some of it melts and it turns out sunny next Friday/Sat!

Re: Fire & Ice
February 14, 2009 10:17PM
For those hoping for Horsetail's show, it's always a gamble, like anything else weather-related in Yosemite, but any excuse to get to the Valley is a good one.

They've kept a section of Northside drive open, to the El Cap picnic ground. You can't go there from the Lodge end, you have to cross over from Southside drive near the El Cap bridge (signs say 'exits'); then when you get to Northside drive, you'll see that there's a way to go right instead of the 'normal' left along the meadow. If you miss it, you have to go all the way around the Pohono Bridge and back again, so watch for it.

I took a look at Horsetail when I was there, and it's really small...just too cold for much snowmelt, so even if there was a clear sunset, there would be nothing to glow. But who knows what the next week or two will bring. As is common in February, a clear sunset is sort of scarce...a cloud rolls in at the last minute and 'poof', no show. We did have a clear afternoon on Thursday, but not enough as sunset approached for any possibility of a show.

It's such an 'iffy' thing, and there are so many photographers now, that I don't go there unless I'm already there in the valley and the conditions are right for the show, but it's still a fun thing to do, so good luck with your viewing.



Post Edited (02-14-09 22:21)



Gary
Yosemite Photo Galleries: http://www.pbase.com/roberthouse/yo
avatar Re: Fire & Ice
February 14, 2009 11:23PM
Sierrafan:>> If you miss it, you have to go all the way around the Pohono Bridge and back again, so watch for it.<<

thanks for the driving tips; I will actually copy these directions and post them on the dash as reference. I have countless tales of screw-ups due to wrong turns with no extra time for correction (sunset photos being the absolute worst for mistakes) I am going to have to allow plenty of time for miscalculations and goof-ups. It always seems to me that the roads are different every time I drive the Valley.
My back-up plan is to get some skiing in so that no matter what, I come away with a positive experience (I am hoping that by taking the vehicle tricked out with the tires and 4 wheel drive, I will get away without having to deal with chains, even tho I carry them)

B



Post Edited (02-14-09 23:33)



The body betrays and the weather conspires, hopefully, not on the same day.
Re: Fire & Ice
February 15, 2009 11:32AM
Here's a map that might explain it better. Right past the El Cap bridge, you just go right, the wong way, on Northside drive to the picnic ground.


You can also see it from near the pullouts for Cathedral beach, but it's probably not a full-length view.

Horsetail (sorta) falls last Thursday afternoon:


Vince's schedule may be just right, with mostly sunny days predicted from Wednesday on.





Gary
Yosemite Photo Galleries: http://www.pbase.com/roberthouse/yo
avatar Re: Fire & Ice
February 15, 2009 12:11PM
Sierrafan:>>Here's a map that might explain it better<<

Spiffy map! This will be of great assistance. It was "going the wrong way" that was really throwing me; the picture makes it sensical.

>>Vince's schedule may be just right, with mostly sunny days predicted from Wednesday on.<<

Yeah, its the same schedule that I am working on: clear weather for the weekend of the 20th-22nd. I am ready to shut down my computer because I have so many weather sites running that approaching madness is on the horizon!

Great pic; I hope that a teensy bit of warm weather will speed up the flow a bit.

B
avatar Re: Fire & Ice
February 15, 2009 06:59PM
i went there yesterday to see the fall (2/15/09), but it was too cloudy. no sunshine :-(
avatar Re: Fire & Ice
February 17, 2009 12:16AM
It was nice of the NPS to put on the web site that you can access the picnic area with a right turn going north across the bridge.

Probably I'll hike over there from the day use parking just south of the village store. It's not that far.
avatar Re: Fire & Ice
February 17, 2009 01:25AM
Vince: >>Probably I'll hike over there from the day use parking just south of the village store<<

that would solve the "now that I'm here, where do I dump the car without burning up time looking for a parking spot (without getting a ticket) ?" problem/question.

B
Re: Fire & Ice
February 19, 2009 01:41PM
Bee wrote:
> Vince: >>Probably I'll hike over there from the day use parking
> just south of the village store<<
>
> that would solve the "now that I'm here, where do I dump the
> car without burning up time looking for a parking spot (without
> getting a ticket) ?" problem/question.
>

It could also be another potential problem though. Northside drive is closed at Camp 4, and I think it's about 2 miles to the El Cap picnic area. Not a long hike, but enough that if you didn't leave early enough, you might get there and hear about what you just missed 8^).

Take a flashlight and warm clothes for the hike back in the dark.

The last time I tried to go there (maybe 3 years ago), it wasn't a parking problem, as the picnic ground has a lot of spaces. But it seems to have gotten pretty popular, so maybe it's different. Last year getting a parking spot on Southside anywhere near Cathedral pullouts was impossible, I noticed, and I saw people carrying tripods so I assume that was the reason they were all there.



Post Edited (02-20-09 08:11)



Gary
Yosemite Photo Galleries: http://www.pbase.com/roberthouse/yo
avatar Re: Fire & Ice
February 19, 2009 09:40AM
From space.com:

During the next few weeks, a comet bright enough for observation in binoculars and possibly even with the naked eye will provide a fine skywatching target when weather permits.

Comet Lulin will be closest to Earth on Feb. 24 and prime viewing will occur than and on surrounding nights. For sharp-eye viewers with dark, rural, skies, the comet is expected to be visible as a dim, fuzzy star.

People living in cities and suburbs are not expected to see the comet with the naked eye, but binoculars and telescopes will reveal its cloudy head and perhaps a striking tail, too. Comets are unpredictable, however, so it's impossible to say how bright this one might become.

Already Lulin is an enjoyable target for small telescopes, producing several striking photographs in the predawn sky. The object is best found using a sky map tailored to your location.
Re: Fire & Ice
February 20, 2009 08:36AM
Vince wrote:
> Comet Lulin will be closest to Earth on Feb. 24 and prime
> viewing will occur than and on surrounding nights. For
> sharp-eye viewers with dark, rural, skies, the comet is
> expected to be visible as a dim, fuzzy star.

Just realized we'll be in the valley that night (23-24); maybe I'll see it, but "dim, fuzzy star" might be hard to spot for a non-astronomer type like me, who usually doesn't even know where the north star is 8^). I guess if the predicted storm comes in it won't matter anyway.

On the other hand, if it doesn't, maybe a 2-for1...the 'firefall' at Horsetail with the comet blasting past behind...8^)





Gary
Yosemite Photo Galleries: http://www.pbase.com/roberthouse/yo
avatar Re: Fire & Ice
February 20, 2009 09:39AM
Gary, Bee & others,

As an amateur astronomer I should offer help on finding comet Lulin. These directions apply for February 24th at 10:00 PM California time. This might be a bit difficult because everything I will refer to is going to be in the lower northest to southeast quadrants of the sky at that hour. It is very possible my reference points may not be visible from the valley until later in the evening due to surrounding topography.

First of all, find the Big Dipper. It will be in the northest sky standing on end with the handle facing more or less downward. The last 2 stars forming the pan of the dipper point to the north star (Polaris) which will be lower and directly north.

To find Lulin it is easier to first find Saturn. Use the same 2 stars of the Big Dipper and follow them in the opposite direction until you reach the ecliptic, the path taken across the sky by the sun, moon, & planets. This will be a little more than half way to the southern horizon between the 2 brightest stars in the constellation Leo, Regulus to the right and Denebola to the left. Slightly below these 2 stars (and closer to the left one) will be the brightest stellar-like object in that part of the sky, the planet Saturn. Ever so slightly below Saturn will be the "faint fuzzy" comet Lulin. It will probably require binoculars to see it very well, especially if you are impeded by any nearby artificial light pollution. On the 23rd the comet will be a little left of Saturn; on the 25th it will be a little right of Saturn.

Do not expect to see a long bright comet tail as this is actually rare for most comets. Good luck.

Jim

avatar Re: Fire & Ice
February 20, 2009 09:46AM
For a star map of the area showing the comet path with dates for its progress go to http://media.skyandtelescope.com/documents/Comet_Lulin_Feb13.pdf

Jim

avatar Re: Fire & Ice
February 19, 2009 04:36PM
SierraFan:>>It could also be another potential problem though. Northside drive is closed at Camp 4<<

Thank you for the heads up, Gary. Hoping to get there by no later than 3:00pm so that all the scouting and decisions can be made AHEAD of time: The campground (I have done enough late night arrivals to know I dont want to this time), The parking/walk to El Cap (I am leery because if you get there too early, there will be standing around in the cold with no refuge) and the choosing of a viewing spot.

I am really really hoping the weather holds..

B
Re: Fire & Ice
February 20, 2009 10:45AM
Thanks Jim! I'm printing out your directions, so if we get a clear night I'll head out with the binoculars and your 'map' and look for 'faint fuzzy' things among the stars. There's not usually too much ambient light in the valley, so it might be worth a try.





Gary
Yosemite Photo Galleries: http://www.pbase.com/roberthouse/yo
avatar Re: Fire & Ice
February 20, 2009 01:04PM
Gary,

If that's the case, you probably should be able to see it with the naked eye. Humans can usually see out to 6th magnitude stars under dark skies. The comet is supposedly going to be around 5th magnitude but that's a bit deceiving since its brightness is spread out over its entire surface, whatever that may be, so it's not like looking at a star.

Jim
Re: Fire & Ice
February 20, 2009 05:33PM
Well, I just took a look at the webcam...it's about 5:30 Friday, and it looks like there may not be enough sun getting through for their view of the firefall. That's pretty common in February. Hope I'm wrong.





Gary
Yosemite Photo Galleries: http://www.pbase.com/roberthouse/yo
avatar Re: Fire & Ice
February 21, 2009 07:02AM
No dice on Friday. Just a beautiful day there though anyway.
1 to 2 feet of snow sticking everywhere in the valley.

Hope there is luck on Saturday.
avatar Re: Fire & Ice
February 21, 2009 03:32PM
bill-e-g wrote:

> Hope there is luck on Saturday.

Doesn't look good. The cams are showing a lot of clouds.

Re: Fire & Ice
February 21, 2009 06:26PM
Mid-week, I saw that there was a 20% chance of rain Saturday evening and went to Yosemite on Friday. Yosemite was gorgeous but I didn't see a firefall.
avatar Re: Fire & Ice
February 21, 2009 07:50PM
Sierrafan:<it looks like there may not be enough sun getting through for their view of the firefall.>

Ill end the speculation: 4 hours driving. One pissed off client for taking the day off. Slip-slidey into the campground. Skip dinner for good firefall parking. Forgot tripod. Last minute clouds. No Firefall. Too cold to cook dinner. Home. Bed.

B
avatar Re: Fire & Ice
February 22, 2009 01:19AM
Bee wrote:


> Ill end the speculation: 4 hours driving. One pissed off client
> for taking the day off. Slip-slidey into the campground. Skip
> dinner for good firefall parking. Forgot tripod. Last minute
> clouds. No Firefall. Too cold to cook dinner. Home. Bed.



With apologies to Robert Burns:

'The best laid schemes o’ pikas an’ people
Gang aft a-gley.'

[... although, forgetting the tripod was a nice touch.]



Post Edited (02-22-09 01:36)



THE YOSEMITE POST
Voice of the Rocky Marmot Empire
avatar Re: Fire & Ice
February 22, 2009 07:31PM
Bee, you were in the campground...so was I...damn...my cell phone said "NO SERVICE" from about Groveland all the way in, and on the way out NO SERVICE until Midpines. GRRRR We were probably a few yards apart. I was in Upper Pines space 7.

Oh well! I have lots of good pictures despite no sun from Fri night till I left in the rain and fog on Sunday.

Pictures soon. P.S. My next longer road trip will be to Daffodil Hill in about a month, and a side trip to California Cavern. Might return to Yosemite in mid-May to take in the waterfalls at their finest.
avatar Re: Fire & Ice
February 22, 2009 09:55PM
Vince:<<Bee, you were in the campground>>

*Yawn* (just woke up from sleeping a million hours)Yesssiree, I was there in Upper Pines fer sure, #65 (Loop 2)(I had a tough time with the cell phone, too). I was grumpy when I wrote my first post, but in hindsight, I had a blast. In a note to y'all who recommended the Cat heater: TODAH RABAH!!(many thanks) I am the worst firestarter, so I relied apon that heater to keep me toasty, and it did an EXCELLENT job.

Thank you, Forrest and the others who provided the excellent maps and directions -- I followed them exactly and found the perfect parking spot at the entry to El Cap picnic ground (4:00pm 20 Feb). I "set up"( to my chagrin, I was the only one without a tri-pod) right there next to at least 100+ plus other fanatics (if any of you posters where milling about, I was the one with waist length black hair and dressed head to toe in pink down)(hey, the outfit was a steal). No Firefall (by this time boyfriend had thrown up hands and went to truck to eat everything that did not require cooking). I had a great time chatting with all the other photo-nuts.

Sat morn, intent on completing the "ICE"(the nightly avalanches covered this aspect!!) part of this thread, I went skiing up at Badger Pass. Gawd it was AWESOME! The snow was packed powder. As a solo endeavor, I never feared a lonely day; I ended up skiing with an off duty ranger who told all sorts of great stories. THe best one was the recent bear activity that included two bears taking down a 6 point buck just yards away from the lodge (two days earlier). It was the talk of the town.

I took photos from Glacier Pt road, but I have no "albums" to post and store from, so I might need help in sharing them.

B



Post Edited (02-22-09 22:03)



The body betrays and the weather conspires, hopefully, not on the same day.
avatar Re: Fire & Ice
February 22, 2009 10:01PM
Yahoo hosts web sites for really cheap. Just a hint.
avatar Re: Fire & Ice
February 22, 2009 10:25PM
Vince:>>Yahoo hosts web sites for really cheap. Just a hint.<<

yes, I have investigated(help appreciated) Not to bore everyone with Q&A photo, but I need to know the optimum pixel dimensions appropriate for this board. (and the level of "save"(1-12) from photoshop)

B



Post Edited (02-22-09 22:34)



The body betrays and the weather conspires, hopefully, not on the same day.
Re: Fire & Ice
February 22, 2009 10:40PM
Bee wrote:
> yes, I have investigated(help appreciated) Not to bore everyone
> with Q&A photo, but I need to know the optimum pixel dimensions
> appropriate for this board. (and the level of "save"(1-12) from
> photoshop)

If you make the largest dimension 600-800 pixels, it's usually big enough to view for most people, and not overpowering for others.

Level 7 in PS is a good compromise for file size and quality, though if you want smaller, go down to 5; for some reason, 6 is often larger than 7.





Gary
Yosemite Photo Galleries: http://www.pbase.com/roberthouse/yo
avatar Re: Fire & Ice
February 22, 2009 10:39PM
My Canon G6 makes photos at 3072x2304, I just open them up in paint and resize them under stretch/skew at 33 percent each and resave them with a more memorable file name. Then I quickie upload to Yahoo, make sure I have the right URL using "preview" and if it looks good, then click post.

There are numerous freebie websites like flickr and I think there are several hiking sites that also host photos for free (but your albums will have ads on them).

Good luck!
avatar Re: Fire & Ice
February 22, 2009 10:54PM
SierraFan:>>If you make the largest dimension 600-800 pixels, it's usually big enough to view for most people, and not overpowering for others.<<

BIG help; I have folks who (try) to email me full blown 12meg shots at full size and they just hang up in the system.

Took some nice shots from glacier to share, hopefully tomorrow nite. Also, I believe that there is a bit of pink in my friday firefall shot...smiling smiley

B
avatar Re: Fire & Ice
February 23, 2009 10:22AM
A photo of Half Dome from the recent trip to Yosemite. I took the pic as the storm was coming in from above the tunnel view section of the road (about a mile before).


I have opened a Flickr account and posted my pic. , went over the "sizes" selection to get the exact address, copied it, put .jpg/ at the end, and ecased img at the end and beginning of the address ...but no luck having it show up here.

What am I doing wrong?

B

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3351/3303573547_e520a969da_o.jpg



Post Edited (02-23-09 11:45)



The body betrays and the weather conspires, hopefully, not on the same day.
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