The river Aghanashini near Sirsi is one of the last pristine river systems in India. While working on a documentary about the river, I had the unique opportunity to photograph an extremely rare and undocumented phenomenon called the Moonbow. Moonbows are Lunar Rainbows that happen at night under a bright full moon.
I have been researching on Moonbows for close to 2 years and during one of my recce trips to Unchalli Falls (Aghanashini’s most famous waterfall) I saw the potential it held. There are only 5 known waterfalls in the entire world which are known to favor the formation of Moonbows. The angle along the horizon at which the full moon rises plays an important role along with the cloud cover. The amount of ‘spray mist’ generated by the plummeting water, is another key factor. All these factors have to be in sync, and when they do, there’s magic, in the form of a Moonbow!
However this magic is very subtle. The Moonbow is hardly visible to the naked eye and its colours are so faint, that only a sensitive camera with a fast lens will be able to capture its colours. The presence of stars in the image is also crucial, as they add in the flavour of the night.
After much planning and execution spanning over two years, I finally got a moment in time, that captured the first ever Moonbow from Asia! Aghanashini is now the sixth waterfall in the world listing this elusive wonder.