Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Yosemite National Park Moonbow May 2009

Last week we took a vacation to Yosemite National Park. We timed our vacation around the elusive moonbow. A moonbow is a rainbow created by the light of the moon, instead of the sun. It only happens under perfect conditions - the moon must be full or nearly full, clear skies, and the position of the moon. It only happens 4-5 days a month, and only in April, May and June each year.

Many of them are invisible to the human eye, but some are visable. However, the eye does not process color at night, so the moonbow just looks like a grey arch in the mist of the waterfall. But take a long exposure photograph and there it is in full color! Very cool.

Here are a few favorites from this year's Yosemite moonbow photos.

This is a full arch moonbow at the base of Lower Yosemite Falls. This one was very much visable, and you could see it get brighter and brighter as the moon moved across the sky. Be prepared to get wet if you're after this shot, there is a lot of spray from the falls:

Yosemite Moonbow 2009 Yosemite Falls

And this is the bigger moonbow that is at the bottom of Upper Yosemite Falls. Totally invisible to the human eye, you'd never know it was there. This was shot from the parking lot near Sentinel Bridge:

Yosemite Moonbow 2009 Yosemite Falls

And a wider shot from the same location, with more of a reflection in the pond near the parking lot:

Yosemite Moonbow 2009 Yosemite Falls

Yosemite Moonbow 2009 Yosemite Falls

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