Join Seán Duggan for an in-depth discussion in this video Shooting the rising moon, part of Photographing the Night Landscape.
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- So it's just about time for the moon to come up. It's gonna be coming up right over there. I can actually see some of the glow of the moon illuminating the clouds over there. I'm all set up to shoot here. I'm using a 70 to 200 lens because I really wanna get close to that ridge line over there and the cloud. I really wanna have that fill the frame as much as possible. Before the moon comes up I'm gonna swing the camera over here. I'm gonna focus on a distant light over there just to make sure I've got good distance focus. Once the moon actually breaks the horizon, I can see the moon, I can focus on the moon itself, but I wanna be ready just as it's coming up with the focus.
So I'm gonna swing my camera over here and I'm just gonna use the auto focus cause the distant point of light is bright enough for that. Okay. I definitely see that glow coming up a lot more now. The other thing is that if you change the zoom on a long lens, or really on any lens, when you change the zoom oftentimes you do have to refocus. So don't just think that once you set the focus at one focal length of the zoom and you change that focal length to zoom in that that first focus is gonna work.
Most of the time you do have to refocus. Just gonna do a quick test shot here. See how that looks. Ooh, beautiful color. Looks nice. And here it comes. We can just see in there now. Looks good. So now that it's showing up, I can actually get a focus on that. It's gonna come up fast. When you have it in relationship to the horizon, it comes up really, really fast.
Nice. (laughs) It almost looks like a sunrise. I'm gonna bump my ISO up to 400 and open my lens up as wide as I can go. That's gonna give me about 3.2 seconds, which is better. I'm underexposing slightly. Ooh, that looks sweet. Right now I've got the moon dead center in the frame. I wanna do something a little bit different and move my frame off to the edge here. So I'll have the moon coming up off the side, kind of over on the left side, or right side, rather.
It's a real special time watching the moon rise. Beautiful color in the sky. Really does look like a sunrise. It must be some haze there. It's looking really yellow. I think I now am gonna zoom in really close to the moon. I'm at 70 millimeters right now and if I zoom in I can get really, really close. And as expected, I do have to refocus. So I've got a good shot of the sky. I'm gonna underexpose it even more so I don't get clipping on the moon itself.
Keep underexposing that. Now the interesting thing about if you want good detail on the face of the moon, it's actually gonna be an exposure similar to daylight cause the moon is so bright you can get by with an exposure that would work in daylight. Right now I'm shooting 60th of a second at F4 and I'm getting detail on the face of the moon. I don't see anything else. It's totally dark, but now I can open it up again, get detail in the scene using a three-second exposure and I can then composite those together in Photoshop to get a better sense of that.
So I'm just gonna keep shooting here, trying out different compositions. It's looking really nice. I'm probably also gonna do a composition or an exposure where I have a lot more exposure on the landscape cause right now I'm getting the sky looking pretty good and I've got shots of the moon looking really good, but what I really wanna get is a little bit more detail in the landscape. That'll be easier to do later on in the evening. As the moon gets up higher, it's gonna be illuminating more of the landscape. Right now its angle is a little bit too low for it to really be illuminating the landscape.
So we've got several hours here of really cool, good moon potential. There's also some low clouds there so we might get the moon going behind the clouds, so I think there's some potential for some interesting shots. Just gonna keep working here and seeing what I see.
- Finding compositions
- Exposing and focusing at night
- Creating an image with reflections
- Using long exposures to blur motion
- Painting with light
- Shooting with a full moon