Night Sky Photography: pro secrets for stunning moonlight landscapes

Night Sky Photography: pro secrets for stunning moonlight landscapes

You may think it seems counter-intuitive to shoot landscapes once the sun has disappeared and light levels drop, but night sky photography actually has a special quality that brings a completely new dimension to your images.

Night Sky Photography: pro secrets for stunning moonlight landscapes

Image by Daryl Benson

The low-light conditions can present a challenge in terms of the practicalities of taking pictures, but much of this is a psychological aversion to shooting in the dark (which is actually a common photography problem).

Once these mental barriers are overcome, the rewards of night sky photography far outweigh any personal discomfort, opening up 
a whole host of new image-making opportunities.

Lighting is clearly an issue when shooting night sky photography – there simply isn’t much of it, especially out in the countryside away from artificial light sources.

So how do you light your subject? One way is to use the light reflected from the moon. Under a fullish moon it’s possible to produce a fully illuminated landscape picture using a long exposure.

Moonlit images have a mystical, tranquil quality. The light is unlike that 
from the harsh rays of the sun, and the results are amazing.

In a similar way that our eyes adjust to moonlight and allow us to see almost as well as in daylight, a camera is able to capture images illuminated solely by moonlight.

However, there is a big difference between daylight images and those taken using the much softer light from the moon. The way that light interacts with a scene to reveal shape and form looks very different when captured over a long exposure 
of ten, 20 or even 40 minutes.

PAGE 1: Using moonlight in your night sky photography
PAGE 2: Timing your moonlight photography
PAGE 3: Three ways to get great photos in moonlight
PAGE 4: How to photograph the moon
PAGE 5: Essential night sky photography tips to remember


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  • Patrycja Sioła

    Krakow Main Square, Mariacki Church, Poland on the last photo :)