Shoot The Moon

The sun gets most of the attention when it comes to landscape imagery but the moon also sparks great interest in photographs.  In this weeks post I will share some tips on how to shoot the moon.

  • To shoot the moon it is beneficial to know how the moon is lit. The moon light that reaches earth is mainly sunlight reflected off the moon. Other light is also present, such as reflected light from the earth and other stars. Since the main source of light is the sun, we need to make an exposure that is similar to a day lit scene. To capture the detail of the moon start at ISO 100 at f/11 and around 125th of a second. This should get you close, some adjustments to the shutter speed may be needed depending on atmospheric conditions. 
  • Use a zoom lens! The longer the better. This will really get you close to see all the shapes and shadows of the moon.
  • Use a tripod. If you are zooming in on the moon you'll need a tripod, if you aren't you'll need a tripod.
  • Since the moon is so bright, compared to the surrounding night scene, the moon may be "blown out", embrace it and use it in your composition.

There are many ways to shoot the moon, if you want detail of the moon just remember that the moon is bright so the rest of the scene may be in darkness. If you want a grand landscape properly exposed, the moon will probably be blown out. The best thing about photography these days is experimenting to find what works. This weeks post image I decided to let the moon be blown out. The moon was bright, lighting the landscape and river below. I used a 15 second exposure to bring out the snow and river detail along with the night sky.