Nocturnal Image of the Day – Venus and the Crescent Moon

New moon is a night photographer’s best friend. It’s the time to photograph the night sky and capture the stars and Milky Way in all their glory. And in the few days just before and just after the new moon, you have the bonus of a thin crescent moon in the twilight sky.

Venus and crescent moon in twilight sky

Venus and the crescent moon in the dusk twilight sky. Nikon D700, Nikon 24-120 f/3.5-5.6 lens, f/8, 0.8 sec, ISO 800.

In the days just before the new moon, the crescent moon lies low on the horizon in the dawn sky. For the first two or three days afterward, it is in the dusk twilight sky. At dawn, the moon is seen generally in the direction of sunrise, and at dusk in the direction of sunset, so you get the best blue hour colors in the sky to go with it.

If you can capture a bright planet in the scene, all the better. In this photo, brilliant Venus shares the dusk sky with the crescent moon.

You have to work fairly quickly in situations like this. While Venus isn’t going anywhere soon to cause problems, on the day after a new moon, the crescent moon is setting fast. You have a very short window when the sky is dark enough for the moon to show up well before it sinks below the horizon.

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