Images by John 'K'

Life as seen through my lens…

Tag Archives: photography

Wake up (early) and feel the sunshine

This time last week I’d just about got home from an impromptu visit to Yosemite to catch photos of a spray moonbow (rainbow in the spray of a waterfall caused by the light of the full moon). There are apparently only 4 waterfalls in the world where this can happen when the conditions are right, and we have one a bit over 3 hours drive away. The conditions were right last week, so pretty much on a whim I decided to take a chunk of time out of my week to go see this for myself.

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Shooting the moonbow meant I was up late into the night (and into the following morning), and as the Yosemite Valley is a magical place by the light of the full moon, I proceeded to journey around the valley to get moonlight shots of my “happy place”.

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Before I knew it, it was 4:30 in the morning and I was up on Glacier Point looking down on the valley, so I decided to stick around for the sunrise which was only a bit over an hour away.


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Cold and tired I sat in my car and napped for an hour before dragging myself from my dreams to go and watch the sun rise.

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I was not disappointed. The scene started to get lighter as the sun neared the horizon, and then as it emerged above the line of distant mountains just behind Half Dome the warming rays of the sun hit my face and warmed my body and soul.

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For a person who is spiritual (not religious) it was a very moving experience. I’m sure if I were a religious person I’d be putting a religious spin on this, but regardless, it was a wonderful way to start the day with a fresh appreciation of the beauty that is there if you only take the time to pull yourselves away from your daily distractions for a while to appreciate it.

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If you ever get a chance to witness a sunrise in a place of beauty such as Yosemite National Park, do yourself a favor… make the effort to get up early and experience it for yourself. I promise you won’t regret it… and you can always make up the lost hours of sleep later!


Moonbow at Lower Yosemite Fall

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On a last minute whim, I took a 3.5 hour drive yesterday afternoon to go to Yosemite National Park to try and catch a picture of a moonbow. A moonbow is a rainbow formed in the spray of a waterfall from the light of the full or nearly full moon. According to the internet, there are only 4 waterfalls in the world that have the right conditions for this to happen, and after finding out about these very recently I wasn’t going to miss the chance of capturing one.

It seems that half of the photographers in California (and beyond) had the same idea, because as it turned dark, the best vantage points for seeing this event were packed with photographers and their gear.

When conditions are good, a bow can be seen in the spray from both Upper and Lower Yosemite Falls, however yesterday the conditions for a moonbow in the spray from the Upper Yosemite Fall were clearly missing, as was the moonbow (there was a little splash of color in a small section of mist, but not a full moonbow by any stretch of the imagination, and nothing that could be seen with the naked eye).

The story at the base of Lower Yosemite Fall was totally different though. As I joined the 50 or so other photographers that had taken up position in the viewing area at the base of the fall, the moonbow was clearly visible as a silvery arc in the spray. There wasn’t quite enough light in it to have the human eye see color, but a long camera exposure can overcome this so you can see the moonbow in all its rainbow-colored glory!

This month’s full moon will likely be the last one this year that will lead to a decent moonbow in Yosemite Falls, as because of the low snowpack in the Sierras, it is expected that the volume of water will drop off enough before next month’s full moon that there won’t be enough spray to make this happen…

Merry Christmas from my family to yours

Merry Christmas, originally uploaded by Images by John ‘K’.

Hoping you all have a wonderful Christmas and a peaceful and prosperous New Year. Whatever you celebrate this holiday season I wish you a happy time with family and friends.

Last Minute Present Ideas…

Half Dome and clouds, originally uploaded by Images by John ‘K’.

Just in time for Christmas, this picture and a number of other new 8 by 10 prints by me are now available to buy from Studio Seven Arts, at 400 Main Street, Pleasanton, CA 94566. Featured subjects of these new pictures include Yosemite National Park and the bridges of San Francisco as seen at night.

If you’re in the area, go check them out! 🙂

San Francisco Fleet Week 2012 Outtakes

Gotta love auto-focus! The 3D focus tracking on my Nikon camera is usually pretty accurate, but for some reason for one shot out of a sequence it decided to switch from the F-18 Super Hornet that I was tracking and shooting to this bird in the foreground! It was back to the Super Hornet in the next shot a fraction of a second later! I guess it knows me too well and didn’t want me to miss the bird. 🙂

Fleet Week Outtake #2: Afterglow, originally uploaded by Images by John ‘K’.

Although the focus on this shot was less than crisp, looking at this one again I decided to share it anyway because I love the way the contrails are glowing in the afternoon sun…

Fleet Week Outtake #3: High Key 777, originally uploaded by Images by John ‘K’.

It’s a wonder I didn’t burn out my vision during Fleet Week this year – the number of times I ended up tracking planes as they flew right in front of (or very close to) the sun… but they sometimes make for cool shots, as with this one of a United Airlines Boeing 777 taken on the Friday!

Fleet Week Outtake #4: Duck!, originally uploaded by Images by John ‘K’.

When you’re loaded with a high-power zoom lens and a formation of 4 Blue Angels flies low directly over your head from out of nowhere, there is no way you’re going to get them all in the frame, even if you are able to zoom out quick enough!

Fleet Week Outtake #5: Where’d they go?!, originally uploaded by Images by John ‘K’.

Another case of near blindness as this formation of 5 Blue Angels flew pretty much right in front of the sun.

Fleet Week Outtake #6: Who put that mast there?, originally uploaded by Images by John ‘K’.

The thing with shooting from the deck of a big ship when what you are taking pictures of is flying all over the place is you don’t always get a clear shot, because bits of the ship sometimes get in the way. I was stood on an elevated gun platform on the SS Jeremiah O’Brien to watch the display, but even from there I occasionally found my shots blocked by things! This was the final Blue Angels fly-by of the Saturday display and someone just had to stick a whopping great mast in the way! So inconsiderate! 😉

You can find my full set of Fleet Week 2012 photos here.