Moonbow Photography – 24 Magnificent Photos of Lunar Rainbow

Simply said, Moonbow, or Lunar Rainbow, is a rainbow produced by light reflected off the surface of the moon rather than from direct sunlight. It’s considered as a rare occurrence because there were too many requirements, such as lightness and distance of the moon, that limit the formation of a moonbow.

Nah, that sounds nothing for photographers, who have no limitation when it comes to photography. Whether it’s accidental or intentional, photographers have tackled their challenges and successfully captured the magical moonbow. And for sure, in the showcase below, we are gonna show you their magnificent works with their own comments added.

Check them out, so you don’t miss one of the most wonderful scenes in our mother Earth!

1. Hawaii Moonbow

“Our last night in Hawaii, there was a full moon, and it was sort of misting outside. The kids said I had to go down to the beach and see an amazing sight. I’m sure glad I did! We got to see a rare moonbow.”

Image: Stephen_Payne

Hawaii moonbow
2. Kamuela Hawaii Moonbow

“It was cold, windy, and raining, but I toughed it out. After getting some images, the CF (CompactFlash) card failed, and all the pictures disappeared. Undaunted, I dug into my camera bag and pulled another card! I had just enough time to get two pictures off before it disappeared!!!”

Image: Ethan Tweedie

kamuela hawaii moonbow
3. Double moonbow in Dorgali

Moonbow is rare enough, this guy has really good luck witnessing double moonbow!

Image: *Tamata*

double moonbow in dorgali
4. Original Moonbow

This is what human eye perceives moonbow. Moonbow is difficult for the human eye to discern colors because the light is usually too faint to excite the cone color receptors in human eyes. As a result, they often appear to be white. – Wikipedia

Image: JoeOVCC

original moonbow
5. Moonbow 1

“I finally made it to Cumberland Falls State Park in Corbin, Ky tonight. Every month, within 2 days of the full moon, this falls becomes the only place in the Western hemisphere with a predictable moonbow. This is a single 5 minute exposure at f8 ISO 800.”

Image: Michael Hensley

moonbow 1
6. Have You Ever Seen Anything Like This

“Out for a midnight walk in a storm last night, I could see an odd appearance in the sky. It looked like “something” coming in, however, it gradually formed a perfect arc. Surely not a rainbow, I thought?”


have you ever seen anything like this
7. Lunar Rainbow

“This picture was taken looking south, the Southern Cross can be seen to the left of center along with some of the brighter stars in the constellation of Centaurus.”

Image: Starry Night Skies Photography

lunar rainbow

Yosemite National Park Series

You have to believe that among 80% moonbow photographs I searched, most are taken in the Yosemite National Park, a United States National Park spanning eastern portions of Tuolumne, Mariposa and Madera counties in east central California, United States. If you want to photograph the moonbow, this is one of the best places to capture its appearance.

1. Moonbows – Yosemite Landscape Photography

“Moonbows really are a magical natural occurrence, and I had so much fun staying up to the wee hours of the morning in some of Yosemite’s most special locations.”

Image: shawnreeder

moonbows yosemite landscape photography
2. Moonbows – Yosemite Landscape Photography

Undoubtedly, Shawn Reeder has one of the best photography works in the Yosemite National Park’s moonbow series. There’s also a great video showcasing the moonbow in action, a must-see!

Image: shawnreeder

moonbows yosemite landscape photography
3. Moonbows – Yosemite Landscape Photography

Same place, with more parts of the moonbow taken.

Image: shawnreeder

moonbows yosemite landscape photography
4. Moonbows – Yosemite Landscape Photography

Very precious shot, is there another moonbow?

Image: shawnreeder

moonbows yosemite landscape photography
5. Lower Yosemite Falls Moonbow

“3 nights before full moon, I was out testing my spinning rain deflector on Yosemite Falls. These are single frames from a time lapse series.”

Image: YosemiteSteve

lower yosemite falls moonbow
6. Lower Yosemite Falls Moonbow 2

Another gorgeous shot taken in the same place but different position.

Image: YosemiteSteve

lower yosemite falls moonbow 2
7. Lower Yosemite Falls Moonbow 2011

The night scene of the Yosemite falls is charming with moonbow.

Image: YosemiteSteve

lower yosemite falls moonbow 2011
8. Lower Cascade Moonbow

Great and rare angle to photograph the moonbow, YosemiteSteve is really professional in photographing moonbow in Yosemite National Park.

Image: YosemiteSteve

lower cascade moonbow
9. Cascades Moonbow

The falls is spectacular, so is the moonbow.

Image: YosemiteSteve

cascades moonbow
10. Moonbow At Lower Yosemite Fall

A very clear shot on both moonbow and the scene, really love the detail.

Image: kyrie09

moonbow at lower yosemite fall
11. Misty Night At Yosemite Falls

“It was very misty. Really misty. Good thing I had fashioned a grocery bag into a rain shield.”

Image: TravelnFotog

misty night at yosemite falls
12. Moonbow 2009

This piece is rare as the moonbow in it only appears on the side of the cliff, where the mist appears, making it more unusual!

Image: fotografo2006

moonbow 2009


What I experienced most in doing this showcase post is, moonbow is really rare, but its photos are even rare! Don’t get me wrong, I mean those photos with really decent quality. I believe it’s because of the misty environment that often breaks the camera, or very short appearance time of the moonbow that troubles the photographer from doing the best shot for this magical phenomenon.

So next time if you want to capture the moonbow, do research very well and make the capture really quick and precise! If you’ve captured it successfully or you’ve a good one to show off, please, do share with us in your comments!