Moonlight over Yosemite

Although we didn’t plan it, shortly before traveling to Yosemite National Park, we realized that we’d be in the park during the next full moon.  We were going to experience moonlight over Yosemite, very exciting!Full moon  001

Full moon  011When we arrived we proceeded to research where the moon was going to rise and where we should go for the best views and photographs.

And that place was Glacier Point, a high cliff on the south side of the valley sitting high above Curry Village.  It also has a great view of Half Dome from about the same elevation.  A very different perspective than from the valley floor.

The road to the point is steep and windy so it takes about an hour to get there. And there’s a short but steep walk to the point once you arrive.  But it’s well worth the effort.Full moon  009

Full moon  003We drove out to Glacier Point with Angel to check out the daytime view.Full moon  005Full moon  004

Full moon  010It was amazing: a 180-degree view of the valley floor, an up close view of Half Dome, with Vernal and Nevada Falls, major waterfalls that aren’t visible from the valley floor, in the background, plus views of the summits of the High Sierra.  The point is also a great place to watch the sun setting over Half Dome.Full moon  013

photo-23We planned to return on the day before the full moon. Hector likes to photograph the moon the day before the full moon, because the moon rises just before sunset and there is lots of light to work with.

We packed a picnic dinner and headed out that evening.Full moon  012

We found a nice spot on a rock where Hector could set up his tripod and we could set up our picnic. Perfect!

There were lots of people arriving, including the tripod crowd.  Many were there for the sunset, and didn’t realize it was going to be a near full moon.  Some were eyeing our gourmet picnic with envy 🙂Full moon  008Full moon  007

Full moon  015Full moon  018It was a very clear night and the moon rose a little further from Half Dome than we’d anticipated, one of those times that capturing what you are seeing is challenging.

But the moon looks majestic rising over the snowcapped peaks of High Sierras.Full moon  016Full moon  020Full moon  021IMG_1863IMG_1874Thanks to Will Hartshorn for these photos of Hector at play.Full moon  022Full moon  031

Full moon  019Since it was a pretty clear night, the sunset was soft and muted.   Still beautiful.

As we drove back down to the valley, we stopped to check out the view from Tunnel View.  Now that we were down much lower, the moon was still behind the cliffs, but due to rise any minute, and the sky was getting brighter and brighter.

Full moon  023

Full moon  025Full moon  026We were captivated, and stayed to watch the moon rise over the valley floor. She lit up the entire valley with beautiful light and shadows.  Like a soft version of daylight.

Full moon  024Full moon  028It was yet another enchanting experience in Yosemite.

~ BrendaFull moon  033

23 thoughts on “Moonlight over Yosemite

  1. A big WOW! The moonshots are really money shots! I have not experienced a full moon in Yosemite and thanks to Hector’s capture I am enjoying its beauty in my chair.
    Glacier Point do give you the best view of the valley, breathtaking! I sure hope you hiked at the top of Vernal Falls or drove to Hetch Hetchy Dam otherwise known as Litlle Yosemite (less crowd there).

    • It was so awesome! We did hike to Vernal Falls (post of two wonderful hikes coming soon), but didn’t make it to Hetch Hetchy Dam – that one is for our next trip. If you get a chance, go back to this post and check out two new photos of the photographer – another photographer that was there offered to take them and just sent them to Hector so he added them to the post.

  2. Those shots are absolutely spectacular! Evening picnics are so much fun — we often take a picnic and a bottle of wine to a favorite spot to capture sunset. Sometimes we even do a gourmet breakfast picnic to take advantage of an early morning photo opportunity — without the wine, of course! 🙂

    • Thank you! We love picnics, sunsets and wine too 🙂 We had a breakfast picnic at Yosemite one morning while on a sunrise outing, not too gourmet, but fun just the same.

  3. Really makes want to revisit the California beauties… Both Kings Canyon and Yosemite are precious treasures. Thanks for the great pictures.

  4. Yosemite+full moon x right time and place = perfection!

    Next time, can you get a rainbow to appear with the full moon???

  5. Hey… I tried to wipe the dust off my screen thinking that you could not have possibly picked up the stars in pictures, but you did! Truly awesome. Hope to make it there some day. Take care,
    Karen : )

    • I had the same reaction, especially since it was a full moon, but it was quite an incredible night.

  6. Awesome shots! Hector, in addition to Charles Kuralt revisited, you’re a modern day Ansel Adams! The full moon reminded us of a family visit to the Grand Canyon, coming out of El Tovar at 10pm to see a full moon glowing over the Grand Canyon. Some things are unforgettable in our the mind’s eye and Hector’s photography captures them. Best wishes to you, Brenda and Angel

    • Hi Big John! Hope retirement continues to treat you well. Love Charles Kuralt … you are too kind 🙂

      Thanks for the note. Really good to hear from you.


  7. We went to Glacier Point for the sunset but what a treat to be there for a full moon. Hector, your photography is spectacular! These are some of the best photographs I have seen in Yosemite. 🙂

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