Saturday, September 12, 2009

Half Dome views

Speaking of high sierra photography. Many years ago I visited Lick Observatory, an astronomical observatory run by the UC, just south of San Jose in the Coastal Ranges. In the lobby they had an enormous panorama of the Sierra Nevadas taken by the big telescope during the daytime. The mountains were some 150-200 miles away across the central valley, and Half Dome was easily recognizable in the center. The only online version of this image I could find was from this website, where the author had helpfully annotated the view.

In the course of searching, I also came across this amazing shot, also of Half Dome, but taken from Turlock in the central valley. Like most commenters, I wouldn't have guessed you could see Half Dome from the floor of the valley, let alone so dramatically.
On The Outside Looking In

Interestingly, the photo seems to have sparked a lot of accusations of fakery (for example, here and here and on flickr), prompting others to bust out the Google Earth proofs that, yes, this view is possible (although unlikely due to the constant air pollution and crappy visibility). Part of the confusion is stems from the fact that this photo was taken using a serious, pro-grade telephoto lens, so the scene is highly magnified.

At any rate, two examples of what can be done with serious optical systems.


Joe said...

Unbelievable!! This was from Turlock?? I once spotted Yosemite Valley from a commercial jet flight from SF to LA and was mesmerized Half Dome Bridal Veil falls all clearly visible magical flight... Give Laura Jean & Quinn a big HUG from me...
Unc Jo

Tim said...

Hey Uncle Joe - yeah, crazy picture, huh? I've also seen Yosemite from a plane once - I remember the plane wing being in the way.

Hope you all are well - will we see you at T-giving?