Part 2 – Photographing the Moon
In theory, photographing the moon should be rather straightforward, but it seems many people have some assumptions that get them tangled up.
First, the moon is a sunlit object, just like a mountain 0r a face in full sun. Second, that light has a ways to go, and it passes through a lot of atmosphere after it bounces off the moon. Still, one can, on a clear night make an exposure that is just 2-3 stops below a straight sunny exposure. No need to have a long exposure – and the moon will move and blur if you do.
That was the easy part, now the challenging part. One has to figure out when the moon will rise relative to when the sun will set. If the moon rises in a bright sky, it is hardly distinguishable from the blue around it. If it rises in a dark sky, the foreground objects are dark or may not even separate from the sky.
So pick a night when the moon comes up a little before the sun goes down. Then watch for that magic moment when the sky around the moon is darkening, the foreground objects are catching last (but not too strong) light, and build an exciting composition. Shoot fast, because the moon is constantly moving in relationship to the foreground, and the light is constantly changing.
There are countless ways to mix up late day light with a rising moon – and the Southwest is one of the best places to play this game!
But wait, there’s more! In the early morning, you can time things so that the moon is setting as the sun is rising. And play the whole game again with similar rules. Only, in the morning, you don’t have to work so hard to predict where the moon will be!
We love to help people conquer “moon photography”. If you’d like to get really good at it, come join us in the Southwest!
We’ll blog again in about a week – next time Focusing on the Sun!