Moonlit landscapes

April 15, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

Tip of the week: Use moonlight to light up nighttime scenes for an otherworldly image. Nighttime landscape images that are taken by the light of the moon always stand out to me. They are evenly lit compared to electronic lighting, however they have deep shadows much like mid-day lighting from the sun. The moon is much like the sun since it serves as a small light source from far away. Use long exposures on a steady tripod to allow enough time for an exposure to build in the image.

I typically find that there are three lighting scenarios for nighttime images: Moonlight (pictured), artificial, and starlight. Moonlit images are typically bizarre because at first glance they almost appear to be daylight images with a strange white-balance. Sometimes you have to look close at the image to realize that it is indeed a nighttime image. I try to take advantage of opportunities when there is a full moon with relatively few clouds to create unique landscapes. Using artificial light in nighttime images opens up a whole new realm of opportunities for the photographer since it allows total control of some of the lighting in the scene. I typically use artificial lights to highlight certain details or subjects within a nighttime scene. Starlight is interesting because it is typically too dim to light the landscape, however the lack of other ambient light sources allow a better chance to view the milky way. If only using starlight for an image, the landscape in the photo will typically be a silhouette due to the lack of light.

19mm         f/4          15sec.          ISO 6400

17mm            f/4               6sec            ISO 6400

40mm           f/4        13sec.         ISO 3200

29mm             f/4         13sec.          ISO 3200

 


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