Yosemite Full Moon & Various Phases – Night Photography

It may seem silly to create Yosemite full moon photo gallery. After all, these pictures could have been taken anywhere. However, photographing the moon in Yosemite (during all its phases) is just as magical to me as shooting sunsets.

Forest trees silhouette - Yosemite full moon rising over mountain.
Forest trees silhouette – over a huge, rising full moon

I’ll start with this shot of the full moon rising over the forest trees. It may look like a fake composite, but indeed, it’s real. The yellow tint comes from the earth’s atmosphere. This kind of photo takes a bit of planning. I was driving home from the park with my sister one summer evening.

As I turned a corner, I noticed an almost full moon rising up over the trees. We had a van full of tired, restless kids in the backseat, so I made a mental note of this exact time and location. I hoped I could return the next day around the same time, ready and waiting with a tripod.

It worked. The image above is the result of all my careful planning. I always dreamed of being able to take a “huge moon” picture like this – with some sort of terrestrial body in it for scale.

Of course, this is 600mm zoom crop, with I’m guessing a 1/10 second exposure at 125 ISO. Tripod is a MUST at this base ISO, though I can actually get great handheld shots at 600mm with the Canon G3x (on auto ISO settings.)

First Quarter Phase (“Half Moon”)

First quarter phase moon, with crater details - B&W
First Quarter Phase

Anyhow, here is a half moon phase…also known as first quarter phase. You’ll notice the lack of yellow tint, which usually characterizes the moon when it’s just at or above the horizon. The light grey tone here indicated that the moon was high up in the sky at this time.

Crescent Moon Phase

Waxing crescent phase - Yosemite full moon photos
‘It’s Only a Crescent Moon’

Above is an example of a waxing crescent phase. I love the drama and crater / relief detail in this photo. Reminds me of a sci-fi movie or something. It was zoomed, then cropped ( I imagine this might be a 900mm equivalent zoom, and I don’t have that kind of reach.)

Daytime Moon Photography

Half Moon Through Tree Leaves - Daytime Shot
Half Moon Through Tree Leaves

Here I shot the moon through the branches of an ancient bristlecone pine tree. This is called a waxing gibbous phase, and this photo was (clearly) taken during the day. I believe I was up above May Lake when I took this.

First quarter moon rising by cliff - Yosemite full moon photos
Surreal Mooonscape

Another daytime shot comes from the cliffs above Bridalveil Fall. I happened to look up notice this first quarter moon rising alongside the granite cliffs.

First quarter moon rising through Yosemite trees during daytime.
This one definitely reminds me of a sci-fi scene

Again, I zoomed into 600mm and negotiated my position on the ground. This enabled me to place the moon right between these trees, high on top of the mountain. Success! My second attempt at using earthly bodies for scale – this time during the day.

Finally, I hope you enjoyed my Yosemite full moon & lunar phases photo gallery. For a somewhat related album, also see my Sierra Sunsets collection.

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About My Photos

The images on this website are available for licensing and/or sale as framed prints. If you’d like to purchase them for a blog, news article, or gift, feel free to contact me with the specifics. This way you’re supporting photographers such as me directly (as opposed to buying from a faceless stock photo corporation).

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– Nathan Allen

About Me

Photographer Nathan Allen

I’m Nathan Allen, photographer / creator of YosemiteParkPhotos.com (Yosemite Photos) and international travel site I Dreamed Of This. In truth, I lived in San Francisco, New York, & Singapore…but nothing compares to life in the mountains. I share my experiences HERE.