I finally had a chance to witness and photograph one of the natural world's most phenomenal light shows. One thing about this phenomenon that surprised me is that when viewed with the naked eye it is barely visible as a subtle silvery or amber band in the mists at base of the Falls. It is only during longer exposures does the moonbow reveal itself as a full spectrum color jewel floating within the Fall's billowing mists. For two nights in a row, we were out late into each night, feeling and capturing the magic gazing at all the waterfalls, in fine form as the rapidly melting high country snows released torrents of meltwater into the Valley's mighty Merced, which rose at least 4 feet in as many days.
I was fortunate to be accompanied by my friends and accomplished photographers Matt Granz and Jean Day. Jean had invited us to join her for a few days of photography and hiking in the Valley. Also joining us was Jean's friend Ellie Stone, another consummate photographer and genuinely great person. I couldn't have picked more pleasant companions with which to shoot and play. Almost all the meadows in the Valley were flooded and this meadow being no exception demanded a slog through about 8 inches of very cold water to access the not-yet-submerged boardwalk. Really not a big sacrifice for a chance at shooting this spectacle.
I started shooting at f2.8 at 30 seconds and increased in 30 sec increments through 90 sec. After a little back and forth I finally landed on 60 sec as being ideal. I was amazed at how the warmer colors extended even further to the left beyond the full spectrum moonbow.