Yosemite Moon rise, March 5, 2012 - a TR


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Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Topic Author's Original Post - Mar 6, 2012 - 01:53am PT
Yosemite Moon Rise
March 5, 2012

I keep track of the moon rise since in the grand scheme of things I'm down to my last 391 or so... every month I crunch the numbers and see if the moon rise in Yosemite will be on a day I can be there. As the day approaches, I get more serious with the numbers, and also looking at the weather.

Here is my calculation for the view in Ahwanhee Meadow

the red line is the horizon from the meadows, and the blue line is the trajectory of the Moon.

This month's moon rise was going to be on a Monday, and the weather looked dicey with the storm coming in, but it seemed to hold as I prepared to go up for climbing on Sunday... I made the call to stay and hope for a clear enough sky to shoot it coming up over Half Dome.

After climbing with Linda, driving out to the Sand Lot I stopped off in El Cap Meadow, the moon was up, it was around 7:30pm and I took some "Moon shots" of the normal sights...

no one on the walls that night.

The next morning I got up to shoot cliffs for "the project." I eventually went to the Deli for breakfast around 10:30am and wandered over to talk to Werner and Merry for a bit.

After that I went off in search of a good angle to shoot Chapel Cliffs near Church Bowl, but didn't really find anything. During my search I noticed a team on Bishop's Terrace, a rather odd place to put a belay (though I'm used to using an 80m rope for this, in one pitch), here is the leader in the crux, sending fine.

(if they read this and they want some images they should email me via STForum mail).

Well back to the purpose of the day, the moon rise.

No matter how many times I do the calculation, I'm never sure that I have done it right, and having positioned myself in a place slightly south of my calculation, I wondered if I positioned the Moon behind Half Dome and wouldn't know about it until it popped up over the summit, too late to correct.

So I notice what I first thought was a cloud in the notch, and realized quickly that it was the Moon, rising exactly where it should according to calculation.

and it's trajectory just along the skyline

and up to "Ansel's Moon" position

I was the only one there, another photog/tourist showed up because they liked the light of sunset on Half Dome and as they wandered into the meadow realized they got the moon too!

My black and white film will go off to the lab tomorrow and I'll have some images to scan when I get back from travel.

My pledge is not to miss any of those 390 odd moonrises remaining...

Social climber
the canyon below the Ditch!!!!
Mar 6, 2012 - 01:55am PT

What will tomorrow's moon rise be like?

Mike Bolte

Trad climber
Planet Earth
Mar 6, 2012 - 01:56am PT
thanks Ed, Great post.


Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Mar 6, 2012 - 01:56am PT
Divine, Ed.

Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 6, 2012 - 01:57am PT
tomorrow's moon rise is later and farther south...
the trick is to get the moon high enough with enough light to compose a good image

Gym climber
berkeley, ca
Mar 6, 2012 - 02:04am PT
I know a bunch of the photography people have figured out when they should show up for the firefall and such by trial and error, but I wonder how many actually do astronomical trig to figure out when to shoot?

Thanks for the share, Ed. I love seeing that you are up to doing nice things. M

Trad climber
Portland, OR
Mar 6, 2012 - 02:08am PT
very cool Ed!

I'm missing Yosemite...

Trad climber
Mar 6, 2012 - 02:24am PT
Ed, your scientific approach to life yields fine results, a toast to you! Thanks for great images.


Mar 6, 2012 - 02:32am PT
Thanks for the cool science and graphs Ed! We all have a limited number of moons if we are lucky. Keep on man.

Social climber
Mar 6, 2012 - 04:09am PT
hey there say, ed.... wow! i could NOT sleep tonight, just thought i'd
check the ol' taco, really fast, before trying again (got to babysit in the morning) and:

oh my and wow, again...

i love this post... thanks so very VERY much for sharing all this!!

*my mom and i always loved going out to the see the moon rise--she is in calif, though, and me, out here in mich, so:
we don't get to share this fun...

and NEVER got to share it in yosemite, :O

lovely and wonderful share, say... i will have to go find that
ed-appreciation thread, next!!
*well, tomorrow, as, sleep or not, i need to get up early...

thank you so much!!!! keep on sharing these trips, when you
get a chance!

night to all, now...
god bless...
glad i couldn't sleep... more fun to get in on the TOP of this
fresh post, :)

Social climber
the canyon below the Ditch!!!!
Mar 6, 2012 - 11:00am PT
So cool, Ed, thanks for the share! The moon was quite lovely last night. I hiked a friend back to the Foresta Road via the Old Coulterville Road (aka the new Yosemite employee commute hiking route!), and noticed the lovely moon.

And for the record, today's moonrise is "raining".
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 6, 2012 - 11:03am PT
today from the same spot:

you see that the moon is at the summit of Half Dome around 6:30pm about a half hour after sunset.. so not great for images, but a great sight none the less

the best spot to watch today would be Glacier Point (bearing 98) better would be Union Point, and be there a bit earlier because of the altitude difference...

if you don't go because of rain, watch it on the Sentinel Dome webcam, moon rise is just after 4:30pm you can sample the cam images during that time if the weather isn't completely dreadful.


Russ Walling

Gym climber
Poofter's Froth, Wyoming
Mar 6, 2012 - 11:10am PT
Cool stuff Ed!

Social climber
the canyon below the Ditch!!!!
Mar 6, 2012 - 12:34pm PT
Fascinating... I tried to take some moonrise photos from near Union Point (somewhere between Union and Glacier Point), but I didn't really know how to use the camera, didn't have a tripod, and didn't have a good view from a steady rock. So I didn't get any good images...

But I'm looking at them and thinking - gee - this might have been a target for Ed's photography based on the position relative to Half Dome!

I'm also guessing that Ed can pinpoint the date - one (2) clue is obviously the position of the moon, and my location. There is another big clue in the picture that I won't mention. And finally - these photos were taken in, oh, the last 6 months.

One show Half Dome, and the moon is behind the cloud. The other shows both, with the moon behind the tree (yes, that IS Half Dome on the right)

Moonrise and Half Dome, moon behind cloud
Moonrise and Half Dome, moon behind cloud
Credit: cleo

Moonrise from Union Point
Moonrise from Union Point
Credit: cleo

(let's see if Ed takes the bait)

Gym climber
Berkeley, CA
Mar 6, 2012 - 01:46pm PT
Ed, the whole idea brings a smile to my face, and the follow-through on your part fills me with respect. You're a cool dude.
Dos XX

Trad climber
Los Angeles, CA
Mar 6, 2012 - 01:59pm PT
Simply beautiful, Ed. Looking forward to more!

Mar 6, 2012 - 02:17pm PT
Hey Ed- Cool stuff. I've also done some similar sort of tracking for a photo.

Have you ever used the The Photographers Ephemeris?

Here's what the TPE shows for yesterday march 5th.

Credit: mikeyschaefer

The photo below took me hours to map out and plan. I even went the couple nights before with a GPS and compass to make sure my research on TPE was correct

Credit: mikeyschaefer
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 6, 2012 - 03:16pm PT
wonderful image Mikey!
I've used that tool too, but have my own Excel spread sheet that provides the information in a way that I can use most efficiently...

...I've been slowly working up to a Google Earth application that would be "dirt simple" to use and provide the scene on a particular day at a particular location as specified by the user...

however, it does take some time to do, so no one should hold their breath!

But all this work is a part of "creating an image" and not just "taking a picture."

I'll work on your image cleo, but not at work!

Mike Friedrichs

Sport climber
City of Salt
Mar 6, 2012 - 03:47pm PT
Really nice Ed. Makes me miss Yosemite. Thanks for sharing.

Mar 6, 2012 - 04:12pm PT
Thanks for posting this sir. I'm counting 'em now as well.
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