Night Photography: Shooting the Moon

Your journey into night photography has reached the Moon, the main attraction of the night sky. Everyone has been at least once overwhelm by a magnificent giant full Moon. If you have your camera with you in one of these moments don’t hesitate and start shooting it because the Moon is actually moving very fast and you might loose the opportunity. In about two minutes the Moon will cover a distance equal to it’s diameter.

For night photography shooting the Moon can be quite tricky since choosing the right exposure is not an easy job. You must have in mind that the Moon at night receive almost the same amount of light as the earth on a sunny day. So basically the exposure will be roughly the same. Yet the exposure is greatly influenced by the position of the Moon. For example, if the Moon had just risen above the horizon than the haze of the atmosphere will dim the light reflected by the Moon. In this case a longer exposure will be necessary. Overexposing the Moon too much will just make it a white glow and using too slow a shutter speed will make it an oval shape. Using the spot metering mode of your camera will be of a great help in this situation.

Full Moon at Night

Full Moon at night

Another important aspect when shooting the Moon at night is choosing the right lenses. If you take your shoots with a standard 50mm lens, the Moon will be quite small in the final photo. A better choice will be to use telephoto lens which will allow you to capture very beautiful details of the surface of the Moon.

With a little work you will finally be able to capture a great photo of the Moon at night, but soon you will want to take more complex night photos in which you want the Moon to be present. The right exposure for such night photos is almost impossible sometimes. They will be either overexposed or underexposed. A solution frequently used by photographers is adding the Moon in the photos using a digital image editing software. So you take a good photo of the Moon by itself and then you add it in the other night photo wherever you want.

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