Yes, the lavafalls you see above is just an optical illusion. This phenomenon occurs every year at Horsetail Falls in Yosemite during mid-February. To capture it, photographers have to wait until dusk on a perfect day (clear skies on the southwest horizon) – when the sun hits the falls at the perfect angle – to capture the falls in this fire-like state. Continue reading for more pictures, a video, and additional information.
To be successful in photographing the watery firefall, it takes luck and timing, and the cooperation of nature. Horsetail Fall drains a small area on the eastern summit of El Capitan and flows only in the winter and spring in years with adequate rain and snow, which is scarce this year. Experts say it doesn’t take a lot of water for the fall to light up.