More Lunacy-Photography During The Full Moon

The full moon occurs tonight (actually 7:33 in the morning), which means the next few nights are going to be great for some types of night photography. You won’t be shooting many meteors or Milky Way scenes, but you can shoot landscapes illuminated by the moon, as well as shots that include the moon in the frame. And you can shoot star trails very well, too.

Full Moon Over Waterfall

The full moon rises above a waterfall. Two frames blended, one for the moon and sky, the other for the waterfall. Nikon D800, Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8 lens, f/16 for starburst effect.

Here are a few shots I made during last month’s full moon. The first one is a stack of two exposures, one for the moon and sky and the other for the water. Notice that the moon is totally blown out, which is always going to be the case when it is that high in the sky and you expose for the surroundings. (Only during twilight, when the moon is low on the horizon, can you get detail on the moon’s surface and a good exposure for the landscape in a single shot.) Personally, I like it like that.

Exposure for the moon and sky. 30 seconds, f/16, ISO 1600.

Exposure for the water. 13 seconds, f/8, ISO 1600.

I choose a small aperture of f/16 to get the starburst effect. Notice the difference between it and the example photo shot at f/8.

An aperture of f/8 doesn't produce a strong starburst like f/16 does.

The star trail images is a stack of 195 frames shot at 60 seconds, f/5.6, and ISO 400. This is quite a bit less exposure than my typical 4 minutes, f/4, ISO 400 exposure and was necessary to keep the sky from overexposing from the moonlight. The big difference between shooting star trails in moonlight as opposed to a dark site is that the resulting image has a blue sky, very similar to what it would like if you shot during the day. I think the effect is pretty cool.

Waterfall illuminated by full moon

Waterfall illuminated by full moon. Nikon D800, Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8 lens, 30 seconds, f/5.6, ISO 800.

I did no light painting in any of these images. It wasn’t necessary because the moon illuminated the water very well.

Star trails over waterfall

Star trails over waterfall during full moon. 195 60-second frames shot with Nikon D800, Nikon 14-24mm lens, f/5.6, ISO 400.

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