Yosemite Moonbows

Moonbow and starry sky over Yosemite Falls, Yosemite National Park, California

Moonbow and starry sky over Yosemite Falls, Yosemite National Park, California

Yosemite National Park is a mecca for adventure and nature photography with its steep granite walls, lush meadows, alpine spires and booming waterfalls. I’ve spent four decades exploring its unique features and it always feels like home whenever I return.

But as with any well-loved location, it’s easy to find yourself in a creative quandary when it comes to seeking out new perspectives. With iconic landmarks around every turn, it’s a challenge to create fresh images that (no matter how beautiful) don’t leave you feeling as if you’ve just seen that same view in a recent car ad or magazine. So what to do?

Last spring I admit I did take some of those classic shots, but I also came away with a few truly unique images. As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, waterfalls are always a rewarding subject as no two shots will ever be the same. The flow of the water is in a constant state of flux and experimenting with shutter speed opens up a whole new world of creative expression. From what Ansel Adams called “straight photography” to ethereal artistic interpretation, the sky really is the limit with this liquid landscape.

To take this one step further, my trip coincided with the full moon so I took advantage of the lunar light combined with a fairly full flow from the spring runoff to create nightscapes like the one above. Moonbows have become a popular subject in recent years, and the opportunity provided just the creative portal I was seeking.

Also known as lunar rainbows, moonbows are a unique phenomenon that occurs when the full moon illuminates the spray of a waterfall. The moon needs to be low in the sky (less than 42 degrees) and the night sky must be very dark making Yosemite an ideal location. The best times are typically 2 to 3 hours before sunrise or 2 to 3 hours after sunset when the brightness of the stars compliments the moonlight reflecting off the water.

Framing can be a challenge in such dim light, but once you have a composition set and your eyes have adjusted the fun part begins. Watching the moonbow magically appear and disappear with the ebb and flow of the spray is mesmerizing and makes for an evening of photography you won’t soon forget.

©Russ Bishop/All Rights Reserved

Spring Fine Art Print Sale

Rainbow Falls, Wailuku River State Park, Hilo, The Big Island, Hawaii USA (© Russ Bishop/www.russbishop.com)

Rainbow Falls, Wailuku River State Park, Hilo, The Big Island, Hawaii

Our Spring Fine Art Print Sale is on now through midnight, May 28th!  Save 20% on your total order with code SPRINGPRINTS20 at checkout. This sale includes our popular canvas gallery wraps and the clean modern look of metal prints.

If you’re thinking about a gift for the nature lover in your life or looking to enhance your home or office, our fine art prints will surround you with a lifetime of natural beauty.  View all the details and print options here.


©Russ Bishop/All Rights Reserved

Cinque Terre – Jewel of the Ligurian Sea

Evening light in Manarola, Cinque Terre, Liguria, Italy (© Russ Bishop/www.russbishop.com)

Evening light in Manarola, Cinque Terre, Liguria, Italy

Hanging cliff-side along the Italian Riviera, the sleepy hamlets of Cinque Terre are a traveler’s paradise. Set aside as Italy’s first national park in 1999, these five quaint fishing villages (Italian for “Five Lands”) dot a magical strip of coastline accessible only by boat, train or foot.

Riomaggiore, Manarola, Vernazza and Monterosso are all right on the water, while Corniglia sits atop a promontory surrounded by vineyards high above the Ligurian Sea. The only way to reach the latter is via the Lardarina, an intimidating 377-step brick stairway, or the park service shuttle bus from the train station. Cars were banned in all of the villages years ago, which has helped retain the old world feel that has existed here for centuries.

Walking is very popular in the region especially on the main coastal paths where centuries-old terraces cling to the rugged cliffs above the sea. The Sentiero Azzurro (or Blue Path) is the primary trail that connects the five villages and offers sweeping views of the coastline. Harbors filled with colorful fishing boats and trattorias serving local seafood specialties and Liguria’s famous pesto are the reward at the end of the journey.

Frequent trains link all five villages, and you can purchase an all day pass that also includes a hiking pass at the tourist information offices located in each town. A more expensive, but equally scenic option are the boats that travel along the coast several times throughout the day.

The towns of Cinque Terre date from the early medieval period, and the area was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1997. Though no longer the undiscovered find it once was, Cinque Terre’s charm and classic Italian hospitality still retain the feel of old Italy and make this a prime stop on any European adventure.

©Russ Bishop/All Rights Reserved

Earth Day and National Park Week

Winter sunset over Yosemite Valley from Tunnel View, Yosemite National Park, California USA (© Russ Bishop/www.russbishop.com)

Winter sunset over Yosemite Valley, Yosemite National Park, California

Celebrating Earth Day and National Park Week!

Forty-seven years ago the green movement was conceived and since then it has become a driving force in today’s world economy and social consciousness. We’ve come a long way since the early days of tie-dye and a novelty called recycling. Fast forward to 2017 and LED light bulbs are the norm, hybrid cars are everywhere, and small countries like Iceland are run almost entirely on clean energy.

One of the driving forces in my photography is to show the natural world at its best and to remind us all why it’s important to preserve it. I also support organizations like The Nature Conservancy and The Wilderness Society, which do an excellent job of preserving natural spaces, working with landowners, and educating the public about the connection between health and conservation throughout the year.

This year National Park Week is April 15th-23rd and Earth Day is Saturday, April 22nd. Once again the National Park Service is partnering with the National Park Foundation to offer free admission to over 400 of the nation’s parks and monuments on April 15th-16th and April 22nd-23rd. It’s a great time to get out and enjoy America’s Best Idea at a park near you or celebrate the day in a natural space close to home. Use the tag #findyourpark to locate all the events in your area.

Whether you take a hike, plan a photo excursion, volunteer with one of the many organizations planning events or simply change out those old light bulbs, take time to marvel at all the natural wonders of our tiny blue planet and make a commitment to help preserve it.

©Russ Bishop/All Rights Reserved