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!
scottpedition

climber
Jan 28, 2010 - 12:52pm PT
Great planning leading up to gorgeous pictures. I'm glad you got away from the hustle-n-bustle for a day to enjoy a quiet, majestic day. Sounds (and looks) wonderful.
micronut

Trad climber
fresno, ca
Jan 28, 2010 - 12:55pm PT
What a way to spend a day. John Muir and Ansel musta done that a thousand times. Just sittin around, watchin the glory unfold. We should all be so fortunate to do it a bit more often. Thanks for the images.
aguacaliente

climber
Jan 28, 2010 - 01:00pm PT
Cool trip and nice pictures. I like the second from last. It can be difficult to bring something new to such a heavily photographed landscape but your report and the pictures and the persistence in not "ideal" conditions do that.

I'm sort of disturbed to learn from the screenshot that Google Earth is tracking Bear #81.34, though. These radio collars are getting out of hand.
Nate D

climber
San Francisco
Jan 28, 2010 - 01:10pm PT
Thank you for sharing!
Dirka

Trad climber
SF
Jan 28, 2010 - 01:22pm PT
Ed is the man! Great pictures. You werent tempted to climb a little bit on all those rocks?
crunch

Social climber
CO
Jan 28, 2010 - 02:13pm PT
Excellent pictures Ed. I love the dramatic clouds and the dark sky.

I stumbled onto a similar set up November 2008. This was taken from the Falls Trail, a few switchbacks up. The clouds refused to move fully out of the way of the moon, and by the time I got to a clear viewpoint it was kinda too late, but that's how it goes sometimes.

Nov 10th, 2008
Nov 10th, 2008
Credit: crunch
rrider

climber
Mckinleyville, Ca
Jan 28, 2010 - 02:39pm PT
Thanks Ed, for sharing your optical art. I remember your b&w portraits at Facelift, from a sunday morning, revealing honest glimpses of the inner-dwelling person after a previous energy event. So have you also achieved with Half Dome. I like Hooblie's word, loaded, and also like the second-to-last picture.

I get a load of feelings and memories. I'm feeling the everpresent attraction to the alluring wicked beautiful mountains in their winter cycle. Highlighted by sun is Final Exam, location for a personal long-ago memory. Heaps of snow reveal Big Sandy Ledge, and I remember sitting there in the heart of a thunderstorm, assuming we would die. Same trip, I remember nearly succumbing to my first taste of real hypothermia the day after a rain bivvy. Next day I would have gone to sleep forever in the back of that hole in a right-facing corner(-forget where), but was saved by my partner, who was filled with a greater strength and ability to overcome the conditions, and who reasoned with me in my weakened state. (Matt Donohoe) I also like how the snow at the base covers all those one-way manzanita and chapparal, which allow only downhill travel. All that is hidden, making it look like an easy hike.

And to rhapsodize further... I will always love any chance to be still and merely observe the mind-blowing artistic and structural details, and the unfathomable grandeur of all great rock walls. The Moonlight Sonata is a great fit for meditating on a winter view of Half Dome. Beethoven captured so much of the feeling of the quiet power of nature in that reflective piece.
Jingy

Social climber
Nowhere
Jan 28, 2010 - 03:42pm PT
Thanks Ed.. Great stuff...

Glad you had a chance to observe.... in peace!!!

Cheers
Ricky D

Trad climber
Sierra Westside
Jan 28, 2010 - 09:46pm PT
Thank you so much Ed - best 10 minutes of the day has made my day.
Ricardo Cabeza

climber
All Over.
Jan 28, 2010 - 10:29pm PT
Thanks, Ed.

Those shots are great, and the historical perspective makes it better!
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 28, 2010 - 11:12pm PT
thanks for the comments all...

great image crunch! a friend of mine used to say that "90% of life is just showing up" it was great to be there and being forced to capture what was rather than what I thought it would be...

I never got to talk with Ansel Adams, it would have been interesting, perhaps... but when reading his written accounts about visualization I would dissociate it from time. Visualization seemed like such a static process. But as I started to photograph more I realized that I was "visualizing" the image in anticipation of the image... like shooting a climber on a climb I was familiar with, knowing what the sequence of moves would be and waiting to click the shutter until I had the pose I was looking for, without posing the climber. Then doing the same on climbs I hadn't done, but read the move sequence, and waited for the image.

This is such an improvisational process that it took me a while to realize that it happens in almost everything I've been shooting, since I generally shoot in situations where I have little control over the conditions. I can position myself, decide on cropping, decide on exposure, but wait for everything else.

I don't know if that was what Adams was saying, but now after my attempts at repeating some of his images I have a vastly greater appreciation of his ability to visualize the image in time, and the grand improvisations that he performed with nature which resulted in his art.

Like anything else genius, it appears so effortless.

And so it was yesterday, when I was riffing off the weather... it was not effortless, I'm not sure I got to where I wanted to be with it all... but I certainly learned a lot and it was artistically recreational.

Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 29, 2010 - 11:48pm PT
Got the roll of black & white back.

The film is Ilford Pan F Plus which has ISO 50, it is a wonderful film... I'm really happy with it. These are all taken with my Nikon FM2N.

Here is a quick first pass... these 8-bit jpegs aren't as rich as the 16-bit tiffs

My actual position was 11S0273348, 4180182, 1211m


lens: Nikkor 50mm f1.4 + Nikon Teleconverter TC-200 2x
filter: Hoya HMC Red (25A)
exposure: f11, 1/2 s


lens: Nikkor 50mm f1.4 + Nikon Teleconverter TC-200 2x
filter: Hoya HMC Yellow (K2) + Skylight (1B)
exposure: f11, 1/8 s


lens: Nikkor 50mm f1.4 + Nikon Teleconverter TC-200 2x
filter: Hoya HMC Yellow (K2) + Skylight (1B)
exposure: f5.6, 1/15 s


lens: Nikkor 50mm f1.4 + Nikon Teleconverter TC-200 2x
filter: Hoya HMC Red (25A)
exposure: f4, 1/15 s


lens: Nikkor 50mm f1.4 + Nikon Teleconverter TC-200 2x
filter: Hoya HMC Red (25A)
exposure: f2.6, 1/15 s


lens: Nikkor 24mm f2.8
filter: Hoya HMC Red (25A)
exposure: f4, 1/15 s
Double D

climber
Jan 30, 2010 - 12:35am PT
Sweet!
T H

climber
. . . not !
Jan 30, 2010 - 01:12pm PT
That little cloud that gets in-between the porcelain wall/diving board and the face can be nice . I took this from up in the talus below the apron BITD . I only have the contact sheet image now .
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 30, 2010 - 03:02pm PT
it's fun to learn about how to use the mist and clouds to provide three dimensionality to the images... it greatly enhances the "seeing" aspect of being in the Valley...
goatboy smellz

climber
लघिमा
Jan 30, 2010 - 06:40pm PT
Stellar views Ed!
CF

climber
Jan 30, 2010 - 08:24pm PT
Last nights moon
Credit: CF
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 30, 2010 - 08:36pm PT
pretty CF,
very soft
john hansen

climber
Jan 31, 2010 - 02:10pm PT
Here is one I took at almost the exact same time as Ed,s , 4:47 pm Wednesday Jan 27th from the bridge. the moon was obscured by clouds and farther to the left than from Eds location in the meadow






Got a couple others of the moon over Sentinal Spire I will post later.
crunch

Social climber
CO
Jan 31, 2010 - 02:30pm PT
Love the B&W shots Ed, more atmospheric, more dramatic. B&W #3 is my favorite.
Slakkey

Big Wall climber
From Back to Big Wall Baby
Jan 31, 2010 - 02:31pm PT
I also like the BW shots sweet
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 31, 2010 - 02:58pm PT
I've been working on printing the B&W shots... so far my favorites (which means I've gotten satisfactory prints) are #1 and #3... #2 doesn't have a lot going on in it, but if you're a climber the entire RNWF is in view, lit by the slanting rays... and #4 has a better Moon then #3, but too much of Half-Dome is obscured to provide the tension between "dark and light" that diagonals down the image from the top right corner to the lower left corner on #3.

...I've got an idea for #5, to crop it vertically, and for #6 where I can do a good job bringing the detail out in the deep shadows of the trees at the bottom of the picture....

Got to go on a suburban hike to acquire more ink...

the film has an unbelievable tonal range... and the 35mm format is blowing up to 12"x18" without much grain...

I'm having a lot of fun with these!

John, I had calculated positions for the Moon rise from Glacier Point Apron, and also from the Wawona Tunnel view, which were too far south for the shot I was looking for... I wasn't sure how well the Stoneman Meadow would be, but given the weather it was a great place....

I'll do some calculations for Feb... I have another photog project in the works anyway...

bluering

Trad climber
Santa Clara, Ca.
Jan 31, 2010 - 03:03pm PT
Wow, John, that's a unique shot!!!!

Nice!~!
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 31, 2010 - 03:37pm PT
I can't believe Gobee photo-bombed my photo thread!
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 31, 2010 - 11:07pm PT
After playing around and printing them:


lens: Nikkor 50mm f1.4 + Nikon Teleconverter TC-200 2x
filter: Hoya HMC Red (25A)
exposure: f11, 1/2 s


lens: Nikkor 50mm f1.4 + Nikon Teleconverter TC-200 2x
filter: Hoya HMC Yellow (K2) + Skylight (1B)
exposure: f11, 1/8 s


lens: Nikkor 50mm f1.4 + Nikon Teleconverter TC-200 2x
filter: Hoya HMC Yellow (K2) + Skylight (1B)
exposure: f5.6, 1/15 s


lens: Nikkor 50mm f1.4 + Nikon Teleconverter TC-200 2x
filter: Hoya HMC Red (25A)
exposure: f4, 1/15 s


lens: Nikkor 50mm f1.4 + Nikon Teleconverter TC-200 2x
filter: Hoya HMC Red (25A)
exposure: f2.6, 1/15 s


lens: Nikkor 24mm f2.8
filter: Hoya HMC Red (25A)
exposure: f4, 1/15 s
justthemaid

climber
Jim Henson's Basement
Jan 31, 2010 - 11:25pm PT
Thanks for posting Ed.
ron gomez

Trad climber
fallbrook,ca
Feb 1, 2010 - 12:11am PT
Great work Ed, some great shots and I envy you being able to do what you do! That Gobee thingamajig???????????????????????????????????????????????????
Peace
le_bruce

climber
Oakland: what's not to love?
Feb 1, 2010 - 02:44pm PT
Just beautiful, thanks so much for sharing this.

I really enjoyed the video.
nutjob

Trad climber
Berkeley, CA
Feb 3, 2010 - 01:09am PT
Ed, I love how you weave together your analytical and creative sides, joining your mind and your heart to share with us the beauty you see.
Jaybro

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
Feb 3, 2010 - 02:12am PT
Jebus, Ed! How do you find the time to do this, edit your movies and still be a mad scientist?
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 3, 2010 - 02:24am PT
I'm not climbing... so I've got time (unfortunately)

Jan

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
Feb 3, 2010 - 01:37pm 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.

And you say you don't meditate or have a spiritual life?

Don't worry, I won't tell anyone over on the Run to Dugout thread.
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 3, 2010 - 03:04pm PT
I'm not sure I ever said I didn't have a spiritual meditative side of my life...
...I think that is an inference people draw. I liked Karl's observations, but I don't think the outcome will be quite what Karl expects.
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