YOSEMITE — Filmmaker Brian Hawkins has recently released “Yosemite Moonbow,” a film about the lunar rainbows the form at night in the waterfalls of Yosemite National Park.
Moonbows (aka as lunar rainbows), the fascinating nighttime rainbows that form under the light of the full moon in the enormous waterfalls of Yosemite National Park, were filmed for the first time ever at real-time speed by innovative filmmaker, Brian Hawkins, for his new film “Yosemite Moonbow.”
This groundbreaking film employs new technology to capture extraordinary moonlit scenes without relying on the traditional method of time-lapse for filming at night. Filmed during eleven visits to Yosemite since 2016, Yosemite Moonbow captures the wonders of seeing moonbows in a way that could previously only be experienced in-person.
Moonbows, which happen on clear nights when the moon is nearly full, can be seen during the months of April, May, and June, when the waterfalls of Yosemite National Park are at peak flow.
Using his background in aerospace engineering, Brian Hawkins developed a 3D model to visualize where and when moonbows would form in order to plan his photographic compositions. In 2018, he also created the website yosemitemoonbow.com to share this information so that others could reliably know when to see moonbows at popular locations in the park.
Moonbows are caused by the same refraction and reflection of light as rainbows, but they’re dimmer because they require more light to be reflected back to your eyes than a normal rainbow would. The phenomenon can be seen anywhere there are clouds and a full moon, which occurs every 29 days or so.
How to See a Moonbow
- Stay up late – preferably after midnight – and look for a clear patch of sky above you.
- Look for a full moon during its three nights around a new moon (when it’s not visible from Earth). This will make it easier to spot since there won’t be much glare from other sources such as street lights or headlights.
- Head outside on a night with no clouds in sight and look for clouds starting to form near the horizon. Clouds are necessary for moonbows because they act as reflective surfaces for sunlight, which then reflects off them back into your eyes!
About Brian Hawkins
Brian Hawkins is a Los Angeles filmmaker who specializes in cinematic visual storytelling. After an engineering career, Brian took his photography business full-time in 2011 and quickly expanded his creative passion to filmmaking. Brian’s mastery of time-lapse photography, as well as his diverse skill set as a creative professional, has made him a sought-after content creator for brands such as Disney, Nike, Bentley, Nickelodeon, and National Geographic.
Where You Can Watch “Yosemite Moonbow”
Moonbow Website: YosemiteMoonbow.com