Moon Landscape Photography

Moonlight Beach
Moonlight Beach

As a landscape photographer, I  track the date of the next full moon in the hopes of getting  it into a photographic composition.  If the clouds cooperate, seeing the moon low on the horizon is always a thrill and it can add dramatic interest to a photograph.  I have learned that the shot does not have to be taken on exactly the day of the full moon.  It can be taken  a few days earlier or a few days later and still be what I’m looking for.

I created a mnemonic device to help me remember when to shoot: B-E-A-M.
It stands for

  • BEFORE the full moon date, shoot in the  EVENING toward the east.
    On the days leading up to the full moon date — the BEFORE days — the moon is full-looking and bright and low in the eastern sky right around sunset — in the EVENING — and for a few minutes the sky will be a muted pastel blue, with possible orange sunset light illuminating clouds or objects in the landscape below the moon.
  • AFTER the full moon date, shoot in the MORNING toward the west.
    On the days after the full moon date — the AFTER days — the moon is full-looking and bright and low in the western sky right around sunrise, in the MORNING, and there the sky will be a muted pastel blue, with possible orange, pink, or yellow sunrise light illuminating clouds or objects in the landscape below the moon.

Either occasion makes a  nice tonal composition without the extremes of a too bright moon and a too dark sky.

Moon Moment
Moon Moment

B-E-A-M

Before Evening, After Morning

Now it’s easy for me to remember whether I need to get up early or stay out late.

Good luck on shooting the moon!

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5 thoughts on “Moon Landscape Photography

  1. Love the moon landscape, Harry, so wonderful and such spiritual energy to take in, the amazing moon goddess energy.
    Thanks so much for the work you are doing.
    Shanti,
    Jackie

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  2. Hi Harry,
    Also the terrain of where you are will dictate if you need one day or two days before, for the visual of the moon and ambient light to all come together at the right place and time for the composition. If possible, visit the location one day before the first attempt to see where the moon is coming up in relation to the composition, then time it for the next day for ambient conditions. iPhone apps and all that cannot account for terrain.
    Ian

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  3. Hi Harry – I enjoy receiving your posts and always learn something. You are good at finding ways to teach how to photographic the things we all want to do. Great job. I’m out to BEAM a few myself this evening.
    Claudia

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    1. Thanks, Claudia! I was picturing you out there looking for a moon composition, and I was remembering Jimmy Stewart’s lines in It’s a Wonderful Life:

      “What do you want, Mary? Do you want the moon? If you want it, I’ll throw a lasso around it and pull it down for you. Hey! That’s a pretty good idea! I’ll give you the moon, Mary. Then you can swallow it, and it’ll all dissolve see, and the moonbeams would shoot out of your fingers and your toes and the ends of your hair.”

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