HandlePod Would Have Helped This 1979 Moonbow Photo

Moonbow Yosemite

Moonbow on Lower Yosemite Falls shot in 1979 on Kodachrome 64.

Serendipity is a concept that often applies to photography. There are times when you come across something so amazing you just have to photograph it—like a moonbow. I was at Lower Yosemite Falls on a full moon night and there it was. I never heard of a moonbow and seeing it was completely unexpected and enchanting.  The year was 1979. I had no tripod and carried a Nikkormat (vintage Nikon SLR) loaded with Kodachrome 64. I supported the camera on a fence rail and shot. Exposure was a total guess since the camera meter wouldn’t measure moonlight.  It was awkward and uncomfortable balancing the camera by hand on the wooden rail. I took one exposure, probably twenty or thirty seconds, and hoped for the best.

Days or weeks later when I had the film processed, I was pleased to have at least gotten something. I realized I should have taken more and longer exposures. But lack of a tripod was a limiting factor and bracing the camera on a rail felt uncertain.

How different things are today—instant feedback on the camera monitor, histogram analysis of exposure, scene settings for every situation and no waiting for film processing. But one thing that hasn’t changed is long exposure times in low light and the need to keep the camera stable.

If I’d had a HandlePod in 1979 I could have secured it solidly to the rail and shot as long as necessary to get the perfect exposure. There are times when you don’t have or don’t want to carry a tripod for low light. With a pocket size support like HandlePod you will be ready when serendipity hands you a moonbow.

A moonbow is not an especially rare event, but conditions have to be right. If you’re interested in the moonbow phenomenon in Yosemite watch this excellent National Park Service video. Information about photographing moonbows and predicting when they will appear is available on this site. It’s become a popular subject well worth shooting. You will definitely get better results than I did with my vintage Nikkormat and Kodachrome 64. But you may have to beat the crowds for a spot to set up a tripod, unless you have a HandlePod to attach to the rail.

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