Well, I almost made it on time for an optimal photograph of the moon rising over Half Dome from Glacier Point.
Almost is extremely relative here. I was anywhere from 30 minutes to over an hour late. This is what happens when I don’t plan a photography trip. Not only was Glacier Point much further from Tunnel View than I expected, but I didn’t expect to be behind a line of cars on Glacier Point Road led by a car that decided driving the exact speed limit was the way to go.
While shots of Half Dome with the moon are not entirely rare, the position of the moon is much more in line with Half Dome in the winter. Unfortunately, Glacier Point Road is usually closed due to snow by November or December each year. Once the first significant snowfall of the season closes the road, the road stays closed until they are plowed the next spring (usually in May). This year has been a very rare exception. Glacier Point Road was closed November 19th, but was then re-opened due to a complete lack of snow this winter.
So while it is possible to cross-country ski or even snowshoe to Glacier Point in the winter, car-based people like me usually don’t have a chance to see Half Dome and the moon in this alignment.
Now if I had arrived on time, two related things would have been improved in this photograph. One, the moon would have been closer to Half Dome. Two, with the sunset still illuminating Half Dome and the nearby hills, I wouldn’t need to take a longer exposure as I have here for the surrounding landscape. By taking a longer exposure, the details of the moon are washed out.
And as I like to on occasion, I enjoy shooting at least one photograph of the other photographers out there for an event like this. Not shown are the photogs behind and to the right of me as the viewing platform here in the photo does not accommodate too many people and their tripods.
EXIF data: Nikon D7000, center weighted metering mode, 38mm, ISO 400, 0.8 sec, f/14
Half Dome, Moonrise. Glacier Point, Yosemite, California. January 07, 2012. © Copyright Steven Tze – all rights reserved.