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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.

Nugget #90 A Half dome glow reflection001-01 copy

Nugget #90 B Half dome clear moonlight000-01

Nugget #90 C Cloud's Rest moonlight 400 width

Nugget #90 D JB Tahoe moonrise

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