MASTERING LIGHT ONLINE WORKSHOP
Nature photography classes empowering you to master light in the field and in post-processing.
Workshop starts in:
Full moon on a clear night can create some beautiful and subtle details in the landscape. The moon is a gorgeous subject, but night photography that includes exquisite details in the moon as well as in the foreground can be tough. Have you ever photographed the moon, only to discover that it is so bright in your photograph that it appears as a small, bright spot? Or that foreground is completely black?
Night photography like the one that you see above is possible and can be hauntingly beautiful. But I created these landscape photos using two different techniques. The image from Glacier National Park is a composite image where the moon and the foreground were photography using two separate exposure and lenses. The second image from Death Valley National Park was captured using a single camera exposure using a telephoto lens. Lets take a close look at both of these techniques.
I took the shot below at The Devil’s Golf Course in Death Valley National Park. A brilliant, harvest moon hung over the mountains… but my unedited photograph doesn’t show it. To capture the image I wanted, I used a “double-exposure” or blending technique. With my camera on my tripod, I took one exposure for the foreground, mountains, and sky. The scene was evenly exposed, except for the moon – so with the help of my tripod for a 30-second exposure, it was an easy shot. I used a 24mm focal length to capture the scene in the image below.
When I had the landscape shot I wanted, I prepared my setup to capture a photo of the moon. I changed lenses – choosing a 300mm focal length so I could zoom in and capture the details in the moon. The moon is properly exposed in the shot below. However, the sky is completely black, rather than the reality of it being a deep blue.
In Photoshop, I combined the two images for a finished “composite” shot. Of course, the blended image isn’t entirely true to the reality of the scene. Although, neither was the original, unedited image. My finished composite captures the feeling of that huge, golden moon over the bizarre desert landscape.
If composite imagery isn’t your thing – I have good news for you. It is possible to capture both the moon and foreground in a single camera exposure. The trick is to photography the moon at twilight. When the light is low, you can capture the moon and the foreground with a single exposure – without blowing out the moon or leaving the landscape pitch dark.
I took this shot at Sandy Beach on Oahu just after the sun had set, but while there was still some beautiful residual light on the scene.
Here are a few useful tips that I used to photography the moon in the above photo.
Whether you choose to create a composite shot or a single exposure image like the one from Sand Beach in Hawaii, the moon is a beautiful subject.
Do have any more tips for shooting the moon? Please share them in the comments so that others can learn! And then, get out there and shoot the moon, everyone!
There is nothing more remarkable to me than the power of nature. It is both cataclysmic and subtle. Slow and continuous erosion by water and wind can create landscapes every bit as astonishing as those shaped by catastrophic events – and minuscule details can be as breathtaking as grand vistas that stretch from one horizon to the other. Nature is incredibly diverse. Burning desert sands and mossy riverbanks… Brilliant sunbeams and fading alpenglow… Silent snowfall and raging summer storms… Each offers a unique opportunity. I am irresistibly drawn to the challenge of finding my next photograph, and mastering the skills required to capture it effectively.