Moonrise Photography Tutorial

Did you know that our nearest celestial neighbor, the moon, is drifting away from us at a rate of 3.8 centimeters per year? Maybe the fact that it’s moving away is motivation for some to start photographing the moon. But not to worry; it will take billions of years for the moon to escape the earth’s gravitational pull. And to get you ready and pumped up, Matthew Seville has some tips for you to get amazing result of a moonrise:

Moonrise Time and Location

The sun, Earth, and moon’s positions are extremely precise, which makes the moon predictable. Therefore, the exact rising and setting time of the moon along with its phase can be exactly predicted. Not only that, but even the precise location of where the moon will rise and set can be determined. Do your research and make use of websites and mobile apps to help you in understanding where and when the moon will rise and set. Seville recommends apps like Sun Surveyor,¬†The Photographer’s Ephemeris, and PhotoPills to help you in the planning process.

If you plan to photograph during the full moon, you may be amazed to know that the full moon rises perfectly at sunset and sets perfectly at sunrise. By planning ahead, you can schedule your shoot to capture these celestial bodies together in one frame.

Elevation of the Moon

moon rising over a mountain

If you want to go an extra mile and take advanced shots with certain elements lined up together, you need to know the elevation of the moon from the horizon at a given time. For instance, if you plan to shoot a mountain with the moon rising at its top, you may need to photograph  two days before the actual full moon instead of the day of the full moon. Or, you can do the exact opposite and photograph the moon set two days after the actual full moon at sunrise to align the elements. Again, use the features provided by apps to help you in planning your shot.

The sun and the moon will rise no matter what the conditions are here on Earth. But due to weather conditions, visibility can be hampered and our plans to capture them may fail. Whatever the conditions may be, use the moment and make the best use of it whether or not you get exactly what you planned for. The satisfaction level will be way greater than going home empty handed.

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