Shoot by moon­light

For­get flash – Claire Gillo shows you how to shoot a land­scape scene lit by the moon

NPhoto - - Contents -

Use a long ex­po­sure to shoot a land­scape by the light of the moon

In the heart of win­ter when the day­light hours are short and the nights long, make the most of th­ese dark con­di­tions by shoot­ing a moon­lit land­scape. Shoot­ing at night can be mag­i­cal. By us­ing a long ex­po­sure time you can cap­ture a scene that you are un­able to see with your naked eye.

For this project we don't want to ac­tu­ally pho­to­graph the moon but in­stead have the land­scape lit by it. This means we need to make sure we're on lo­ca­tion at the right time, when the moon is at its bright­est. The best way to en­sure this is to check the lu­nar cal­en­dar. Search on­line and you’ll be able to find out when the moon is full (or almost full) and also what time it rises, sets and when it’s go­ing to be in the right po­si­tion. The Pho­tog­ra­pher's Ephe­meris (www.pho­toephemeris.com) is an ex­cel­lent desk­top and mo­bile app for check­ing this in­for­ma­tion.

On the evening of our shoot we knew the moon would be light­ing our sub­ject, this craggy cliff, at around 8pm. The moon wasn't quite full but was still bright enough to take pic­tures by. If you're un­lucky enough to have a cloudy sky on the night you

Make the most of dark con­di­tions by shoot­ing a moon­lit land­scape… By us­ing a long ex­po­sure you can cap­ture a scene that you are un­able to see with the naked eye

were plan­ning to take pic­tures, you'll need to re­ar­range your shoot as this tech­nique won't work if there’s masses of cloud cover.

As with tak­ing pic­tures by day, you also need to find a land­mark that will be of in­ter­est in the frame. We se­lected the iconic Nash Point, near Cardiff in Wales, for ours. The warm tones of the rock set against the cool night sky works re­ally well.

For this project we rec­om­mend you shoot in RAW as you then have more flex­i­bil­ity at the edit­ing stage to en­hance the scene. If you're not go­ing to shoot in RAW you need to be much more ac­cu­rate with your ex­po­sure times, and we’d also rec­om­mend you set the white bal­ance to a cool set­ting to en­hance the moon­lit ef­fect (see page 61 for more on this).

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