Tahoe Nugget #90:
Yosemite's Lunar Light
July 9, 2006
It can occur at any time of the year, but most often in summer the setting sun will cast a rosy glow over the landscape. It's the result of light waves getting bent and scattered as they travel longer distances
through the earth's "dirty" particulate-filled atmosphere. In mountain country it's called "alpine glow" and my first experience with it was in Yosemite National Park in 1977. Alpine glow
is especially stunning in this west-facing valley.
Tonight's moonrise over Lake Tahoe was complemented by the rosy hue of the mountains, lake and clouds. I have seen countless moon rises over Tahoe, but
I consider the full moon & alpine glow combination the best, most enjoyed during the mild summer months.
Over time, however, diminishing sunlight eventually gives way to a landscape under the spell of
lunar light. It's more challenging to photograph, but invariably worth the effort. Here are a few images from my Yosemite Days.
Photo #1: Half Dome alpine glow reflection in Merced River. Do not try to
adjust your computer monitor! The mirror image is naturally upside down and reversed.
Photo #2: Half Dome under a lunar light. If you look carefully (I realize it's low scan quality) you can see star tracks
in the sky and a light below the dome's "nose." The light is a climber's bivouac on the wall. (See Nugget #35 for another shot of Half Dome in moonlight and cloud.)
Photo #3: Yosemite High
Country at midnight.
Photo #4: Jim "JB" Budny celebrates a full moonrise in Carnelian Bay, Lake Tahoe, shortly before his birthday in June 2005.