Can you see Half Dome from the Central Valley?

This may be of interest only to Californians, but so be it...

On February 18 the Patterson Irrigator posted a picture that appeared to show the Half Dome in Yosemite, visible from Patterson. (It's a little hard to see, but if you look closely it's there.)

The thing is, Patterson is in the Central Valley, about 100 miles from Yosemite. So the photo met with a very skeptical reaction. A lot of people simply refused to believe that Half Dome could be seen from that far away.

There was discussion of it on the yosemite blog, and on People contacted the photographer, who insisted the photo was real. And finally, photographer Tony Immoos decided to see for himself if Half Dome could be viewed from the Central Valley. He discovered that it could, and he posted the pictures on Flickr.

So that settles that question. On a clear day, you can see Half Dome from the Central Valley. (Thanks to Jack for the link)

Photos Places

Posted on Mon Mar 23, 2009


It could be an instance where the particular refractive qualities of the atmosphere that day allowed for a near telescopic view, sometimes even allowing things below the horizon to be seen. Not a rare phenomenon. zzzzzzz sorry, I drifted
Posted by Hairy Houdini  on  Mon Mar 23, 2009  at  12:36 PM
Which peak is the half-dome?
Posted by Jake  on  Mon Mar 23, 2009  at  03:16 PM
Do you have to ask that?
Posted by Razela  on  Mon Mar 23, 2009  at  10:24 PM
Nice shot and work, but to be honest I'ld be happy if I could see my toes...
Posted by Joel B1  on  Tue Mar 24, 2009  at  12:47 AM
Can you highlight the Half Dome on the picture as the rest of the world may not have heard of it, like me.
Posted by derek  on  Tue Mar 24, 2009  at  03:50 AM
If you treat the Earth as a sphere, then 100 miles is about 1.44
Posted by David B.  on  Tue Mar 24, 2009  at  07:38 AM
I do not know of the half domes, but Raoul sees the Grand Tetons every day. I have a View-Master, okay, and I know what you are thinking, so don't go there, talk to the handle, Homeos. Rrrraoul
Posted by Raoul  on  Fri Mar 27, 2009  at  07:22 PM
I'm not sure what geologic feature is in the photographs above, but I don't think it could be the Half Dome of Yosemite National Park. Half Dome stands at the bend in a roughly "L" shaped valley, and it's height isn't significantly greater than surrounding valley wall peaks. Those other peaks occlude the view of Half Dome from anywhere outside the immediate area. From the angle of the photos above, Clouds' Rest (higher than Half Dome) should be visible behind Half Dome, and Glacier Point would be between Half Dome and the viewer.
Posted by Dave L.  on  Wed Apr 01, 2009  at  11:36 AM
That is not Half Dome.

Half Dome would be a tiny feature among the terrain from that distance, not a prominant peak as depicted. But only if there was a direct line of sight from there, which there isn't.

Perhaps (or perhaps not) the original pic is a coincidence of lighting conditions and a confused photographer, but the "confirming" pic is a photoshop hoax derived from a famous photo spot within Yosemite Valley (maybe the hoaxter used this exact photo, from page 1 of googling):


Here is an airliner's view of Yosemite Valley looking from the west to the east with Half Dome highlighted:
Posted by Fred  on  Mon Apr 27, 2009  at  10:49 AM
Thought experiment:

If Immoos' "photograph" was an actual view of half dome, why not drive drive out to either of the ridges in the foreground for the much more spectacular photograph?
Posted by Fred  on  Mon Apr 27, 2009  at  06:31 PM
To Fred in California...

It's laughable that someone can post a message calling these images photoshopped after so many people have been to the location in question, saw it for themselves and photographed it. Did you even go to Tony's page and read any of the posts? It's real. It is there to be seen with the unaided eye. I've seen it. Your in California, get out there and take a look.
Posted by E.P.  on  Mon Apr 27, 2009  at  06:53 PM
Why would being closer to the subject make it more spectacular? A grain elevator, almond orchards and dairy cows in the foreground doesn't make it interesting enough?
Posted by E.P.  on  Mon Apr 27, 2009  at  06:56 PM
By way of explanation: I misread the horizon line in the 2nd photogarph as being aligned with the base of the telephone poles, that makes the prominance of Half Dome seem impossibly large.

It seemed like the 2,000 cliff of the Southwest Face of Half Dome was out of scale if the base of the telephone poles was the horizon line. Actually the telephone poles are cut off by a long stand of tall trees.

Since the previous post I did look at the high res image and the verbage and both are certainly genuine.

Posted by Fred  on  Mon Apr 27, 2009  at  09:49 PM
As it turns out, a while back a photographer did go out to the 2nd ridge in the foreground and take a more spectacular photograph.

It was Ansel Adams.

Posted by Fred  on  Tue Apr 28, 2009  at  12:38 PM
Dude,seriously? That shot was taken about 200-300 feet from Half Dome, if that. It was taken from the Diving Board and is mentioned on Tony's photo page, more than once, in his commentary and in the comments down below.
Posted by E.P.  on  Fri May 01, 2009  at  11:43 AM
Yes, seriously. The diving board is silhouetted against the face of Half Dome in the image. The guy even went to the trouble of identifying the diving board in his image overlay thingee, which is how I got the idea to look for the Adams photograph.

Still, it is a very odd photograph to me, due to the telephoto aspect of shooting up the gentle slope of the valley and forcing a false perspective. The horizon line must be somewhat below the dirt berm in the foreground.

The vertical face of Half Dome is about 2,000 feet and the summit is at 8,800 feet, so the horizon line must be located about 4 lengths of the face below the summit.

At least I didn't buy a box of lifwave patches or a puppy from a Nigerian missionary.
Posted by Fred  on  Sat May 16, 2009  at  10:59 PM
Actually, this looks a lot like the photo from page 120 in the book "Above Yosemite" by Robert Cameron. I think the foreground of the farm has been photoshopped over the Above Yosemite photo from a San Jose mountaintop. Anyway, I think this book by Robert Cameron's can be trusted as true, which means you can actually see Half Dome from the Bay Area! Email me at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) if anyone wants to see what I'm talking about. Sincerely, Stephen
Posted by Stephen  on  Mon Jun 01, 2009  at  08:52 PM
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