A Valley Moon Shot - TR

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Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Topic Author's Original Post - Jan 28, 2010 - 02:43am PT
Another attempt at photographing the Moon and Half-Dome
Ed Hartouni
January 27, 2010


The initial attempt in November didn't pan out... although I did get a rather nice image in the alpine glow of sunset. Recall the TR

http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.php?topic_id=1023115

That Moon was full on December 2 and there was an outside chance to get the "blue moon" on December 31 but for the storms... no way to get it with Half Dome. To shoot that picture you need to do it the week before the full moon, as the Sun is still up and illuminating everything else around.

So this week was the next attempt, and today was the day for me. The Moon will be full this Saturday, January 30 so time was running out, and the weather windows have been very tight.

My planning provided this schedule, and a position in the meadow to the north of Camp Curry (anyone know what that meadow is called?).



with the Moon visible around 4:15pm. The weather report was for mostly sunny during the day, and mostly cloudy at night. The question what, when did day become night for the weather service?

Driving in I caught views of the Sierra starting at Altamont Pass. I shot down 99 to avoid the ice at Big Oak Flats and Crane Flats... and could see the Sierra, and even spot Half Dome (I believe) around Turlock down until the clouds closed in at Merced. Perhaps next moon will shoot rising over Half Dome from the Central Valley.

Once in the park I met Werner on his way out to check conditions at the Cookie. Lots of snow around. We talked for a bit and then went on our individual missions.

Parking in the Ice Rink parking and walking out into the meadow was more difficult than I imagined it would be. The snow in the meadow is about knee high. Fortunately I heeded Werner's recommendation to wear gaiters and boots, which I had. But post holing for even that little distance on the flat was work.

I stomped out a platform and set up. It was a beautiful day...



and I was taking pictures by 2pm. I had my digital and the film camera loaded with Black and White (Ilford Pan F Plus ASA 50), I also had the Flip Mino HD...

You can see the cloud action...

The clouds blew in from the north-west, would hit Half-Dome, then wrap around the NWFace and exit on the east side.



I was hoping for some great atmospheric effects... but it didn't look promising as the cloud cover was rather thick. Taking a quick "age appropriate" break I shot down on the Merced River, always amazing light in the winter...





I didn't see the Moon rise, too much cloud cover... I thought this was not going to end well for the Moon shots, but I noticed a gap in the cloud cover and at 4:40pm the Moon unveiled



Though I was still shooting around the clouds.. and in deep shadow...



After shooting the roll of B&W and putting the film camera away I continued to snap shots with the digital after setting its ISO to 400.... the alpinglow was marvelous, and the sky so clear the Moon seemed just out of reach.



When I get the B&W film back on Friday I'll post some from that sequence of images. Also I'll post some video tomorrow.
Cpt0bvi0u5

Trad climber
Merced CA
Jan 28, 2010 - 03:02am PT
Good stuff! Cant wait to see more mate
Route Loser

Trad climber
Lake Almanor/Chico, CA
Jan 28, 2010 - 03:03am PT
Stoneman Meadow, I believe? Very nice.
MH2

climber
Jan 28, 2010 - 03:20am PT
Nice!

Should 'conjunction' refer to the joint occurrence of only 2 events?


If we take

In astronomy: The position of two celestial bodies on the celestial sphere when they have the same celestial longitude.


Then we have a conjunction plus Half Dome thrown in for good measure.

Better look up celestial, now. Always learn stuff with Ed.
Mungeclimber

Trad climber
sorry, just posting out loud.
Jan 28, 2010 - 03:21am PT
noyce!
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 28, 2010 - 03:46am PT
I have always liked time to sit and just watch... and today was wonderful for that, 6 hours alone watching the clouds and light play on granite. I was just an observer waiting to see the magic.

Here is 5 minute of my day today, in real time...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rXV3naTIOcM

...the Moon had risen, and was hiding behind those clouds..
MH2

climber
Jan 28, 2010 - 04:30am PT
Here is 5 minute of my day today


That is GREAT!

Real time in more than one sense.
Cured my headache, too.
Tobia

Social climber
GA
Jan 28, 2010 - 05:02am PT
Feels like I was practically there with you via your pictures, thanks.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Jan 28, 2010 - 05:07am PT
Nice.
QITNL

climber
Jan 28, 2010 - 05:07am PT
Hey Ed -

Thanks for the shots. They also give me an idea of conditions up there. I'm thinking of heading up for the weekend, Camp 4, Sierra Point, Snow Creek, Yosemite Falls or Sunnyside Bench, around the base of El Cap - just noodling about, stuff like that. Kinda hard to tell from the Ahwahnee Meadow Cam - think I need my showshoes, or not?

I was thinking of backpacking up to Mt. Watkins but I'm guessing it might be too sloppy for that?

I love it after snow up there in the winter; even better the last couple of years when Northside Road was shut. Not to steer the thread into the ditch, but if I have any success, I promise to add pix!

Thanks again for your shots.

-Joe
Jaybro

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
Jan 28, 2010 - 08:38am PT
Magnificent, Ed! Did you get a movie of yourself taking stills?

careful in that Stoneman meadow, they kill hippies there, haha.
TKingsbury

Trad climber
MT
Jan 28, 2010 - 09:57am PT
a beautiful mission ed!

thank you for sharing

SteveW

Trad climber
The state of confusion
Jan 28, 2010 - 10:06am PT

Thanks Ed.
Your photography is wonderful!!!!!
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 28, 2010 - 10:40am PT
he wrote about it in one of his books, Ansel Adams... and it was much discussed recently...
not quite that lucky, but the conditions are rare enough...
Slakkey

Big Wall climber
From Back to Big Wall Baby
Jan 28, 2010 - 11:10am PT
So often the case when we go to Yoesmite we are so focused on climbing. However I often like to take some time and just sit and enjoy the surroundings Very nice TR and some great pictures too.
survival

Big Wall climber
A Token of My Extreme
Jan 28, 2010 - 11:36am PT
Great stuff Ed.

Those are beautiful pictures, whether you got "the" shot you are after or not.

Keep at it, you'll get it.
klk

Trad climber
cali
Jan 28, 2010 - 11:59am PT
nice way to spend a week day
Pate

Trad climber
Jan 28, 2010 - 12:07pm PT
Ed- great work, your dedication pays off. I think that last one is the money shot- beautiful. It really offers more than the typical shots of HD. It is so hard to coax something original out of a subject that has been literally photographed to death but you just proved it can be done.
Double D

climber
Jan 28, 2010 - 12:08pm PT
Very cool Ed. Although there is a small element of "luck" involved with good photographs, most of it involves foresight, vision and perseverance which you've dialed in.

Thanks for the post and incredible pictures.
JOEY.F

Social climber
sebastopol
Jan 28, 2010 - 12:15pm PT
Beautiful photos Ed, I can really feel the moment in them.
Superior mental health day tr!
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