My motto for 2017 is to be present, live in the moment, and to not take anything for granted. It forces me to be free, spontaneous, methodical and make instant decisions all at once.
So, when roundtrip flights back to California were $108 total, fees taxes and all, I lived in that moment and bought the tickets. Perfectly, it coincided with the Yosemite Fire Falls phenomenon. Not only did I get a trip back home, but I was going to shoot a photographer's bucket list item, all in one trip.
The plan was to arrive two days early, spend time with friends and family, drive to Yosemite, spend three days there, come back to SoCal and then fly home that evening. That gave us three shots of shooting the fire fall and three days of capturing everything else that is Yosemite. The universe had other plans however, and all the detours that were thrown our way, just made the trip that much more worth it.
Our camping reservation for Tuesday night was cancelled by the Yosemite rangers due to severe weather and flooding. That left just two sunsets to catch the fire falls. The day we were due to leave we learned about two highway closures, one of which led to the entrance that we were going to use to go to Yosemite, which happened to be closed too. The alternate route added two and a half hours to our drive. A detour I am happy we drove through. The drive up took us through hills and mountains, due to the relentless rain that pummeled California, it was a lush green landscape with streams and waterfalls flowing gracefully through every crevice of the hillside. It, was a beautiful sight.
The crisp chill crept slowly into my bones this trip. The sky moved furiously throughout the whole visit, allowing the wind to shift the weather from sunny, to hail, to snow, to just flat out freezing. The great thing about that is it allowed for a multitude of different photos, a variety of skies and lighting that led to a fun photo adventure.
We were lucky, the day I got my Fire Fall shot was a day filled with that bipolar weather. But the sun broke through the clouds for 20 minutes, and it so happened to break through at the perfect time, just enough to light up Horse Tail Falls and give the show it's star, the star hundreds of photographers were waiting for. Right after the sunset, the sky was back to grey and the freezing night of camping that followed that sunset was colder than the needles in my fingertips could handle.
Was it worth it? Absolutely. Who knows where I'll end up next time I find $108 flights.