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Moonbow Over Yosemite: Why We Love the Outdoors

Anyone who admired the short film "Frazil Ice," a study of the movement of melting ice in Yosemite National Park (highlighted here on The REI Blog in May), is likely to enjoy this time-lapse photograph of a "moonbow" emanating from the base of Upper Yosemite Falls, taken on May 30. Both the film and the photo are the work of Steven Bumgardner, a videographer who has assembled a splendid body of work known as Yosemite Nature Notes.

Bumgardner, a native of Kansas City, Mo., has lived and worked in national parks for nearly 20 years. He started as a ranger and cave guide at Sequoia/Kings Canyon National Park and has served as a videographer at Yosemite in 2006. He has shot video footage at all major national parks in the west and is at work on his latest Yosemite film, tentatively titled "Rockfall."

I recently asked Bumgardner, known as Yosemite Steve to his Twitter followers, for a little background information on him. "My turn-ons include unobstructed views, warm weather and cold beer," he replied. "My turn-offs include negative people, crowded roads and cooked greens." Sounds like a savvy fellow.

Moonbows are also known as lunar rainbows and reflect moonlight, commonly appearing all white. Technically, Bumgardner's moonbow shot includes some faint colors, indicating the sun's fading light still had an influence on the scene Bumgardner captured. But why worry about technical definitions?  We just dig the shot, as we do with all of Bumgardner's work.

Photo courtesy of Steven Bumgardner

Posted on at 7:22 PM

Tagged: Steven Bumgardner, Upper Yosemite Falls, Yosemite, Yosemite Steve, frazil ice, moonbow and national parks

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Yosemite Steve

Thanks for the shout out, T.D.! I must defend my photograph and say that it is uncorrupted by sunlight. Moonbows MAY appear white to the human eye, but a several second exposure will usually bring out the colors of the rainbow. The moment captured in this photograph was around 3 a.m. and I was actually able to see the colors w/ my naked eye!

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Yosemite Steve

oh, and it's Steven w/ a v, not a ph...

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T.D. Wood Staff Member

Thanks for providing some specifics about your shot, Steven. It's a beauty.

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