Tuesday, January 8, 2008

By the Light of the Moon

What is a photographer to do in cloudless weather? Well when you are in Yosemite and it is cloudless and there is a full moon you photograph at night!

I was met with sky that was way too clear and cloudless on this trip. California was in a drought and even the famed falls of Yosemite were just a trickle when they should be roaring.

I was hoping for dramatic sky, puffy clouds, and maybe a clearing storm. What I got was endless clear sky. However, with a full moon I went nocturnal, getting out at 3am and photographing the sights of Yosemite lit by a full moon. So for six mornings I was at all the major sights but instead of a crowd, I had them to myself. Me, the 4x5, and the starry sky.
Yes, I had Tunnel View to myself. If you have ever been to Yosemite you were probably at Tunnel View with 100 people and 40 of those had tripods. By going out at night I had it to myself. And Valley View, and El Capitan Meadow, and Yosemite Falls, and the bridge, etc. Being alone at a major site in as busy of a park as Yosemite is almost impossible, but go out at night and it is all yours.

I set up 15-20 minute exposures and the moon lit the rocks while the stars streaked across the sky. It was fun, the images look neat and I got to photograph without the crowds.

Here is one such night. Yosemite Falls are in the background beyond the meadow but the trickle they are barely register on film or sensor. I visited all the major view points and was lucky enough to make some neat images.

The weather gave me lemons, but with a full moon I made lemonade.

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