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Lunar Moonbow Over Yosemite Falls

Posted by
Don Smith (California, United States) on 11 May 2009 in Landscape & Rural.

A unique phenomenon, a lunar rainbow, occurs every spring in Yosemite Valley during the period of the full moonrise when heavy snowmelt swells Yosemite Creek causing huge volumes of water to spill over the lip of Yosemite Falls, the world's fifth tallest waterfall (a total distance of 2425 feet or 739 meters).

Most humans cannot see the color diffracting in the mist, but thanks to linear color sensors, the color can be recorded as evidenced in this image. This is the first time I have captured a full arc from this location near the Sentinel Bridge parking area across from Cook's Meadow. This image was captured during a workshop I was co-teaching with Gary Hart.

Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III 15 second F/2.8 ISO 400 54 mm

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