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The Moon Light

By using the moon as a light source on a somewhat cloudy night you can get some interesting shots, I have selected the shot below as an example purely because the method that I used to get it.

MoonLight By MJ.C Photography

Setting my Canon 40d on manual mode and using my spot metering I took a reading from the moon (the Brightest) and then a reading from the tree to the left (the darkest), from those readings I selected an aperture some were in the middle and then positioned my camera on my tripod and looked for a good composition.

The next step was to set my shutter speed, I selected 1″ sec and took a picture then I set my shutter speed at 2″ sec’s and took another picture. I continued to open up the shutter longer and longer until I got a shot that I liked, The shot above was 5″ sec’s at f/8 ISO 800.

The thing that I like about this photo is nothing to do with sharpness or detail or any of that stuff, its the lighting. From a dark night in November you end up with a composition with three light sources and not a strobe, spot light of flashgun in sight.

Light Source:

  1. The moon acting as a back-light, resulting in the silhouette of the tree.
  2. The moon acting as a fill-light to illuminate the difference between the black of outer space and the white reflection of the clouds, resulting in the sky looking blue.
  3. The street lights acting as directional light to illuminate the clouds from below, resulting in the orange glow of the clouds.

Now I don’t claim to be a world expert in photography lighting setups, but I think this kind of light setup would be hard to recreate with strobe’s and flashguns. lol

Anyway the next time you are sitting at night and you get the sudden urge that you want to take some photo’s, remember to look out the window, you never know what kind of light show the moon is setting up for you.

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  1. August 11, 2010 at 11:33 pm

    Great post. Thanks for all the info. I like the shot, too.

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