Photographing the Moonrise – Part 2 of 2

Author: Vern West

Your chance to practice photographing the moon-rise is right around the corner.  June 2nd is the next full moon.

As mentioned in Part 1 of my blog, there are some key factors to review prior to shooting the moon-rise.  The first is identifying the day before the full moon appears, which is this case will be June 1st.  Secondly, you will need to calculate the time the moon rises, which can be determined with the help of a smart phone app like LunaSolCal.  Once you have this knowledge and have scouted your location you will be ready to setup your shoot.

While the sun is still up, use your aperture priority mode and capture the scene.  This is to ensure that both the moon and landscape have been exposed correctly.  In Arizona it’s the last few minutes before sunset that offers the most pleasing light to both the moon and the landscape.


If you capture the moon while the sun is still high in the sky the moon will be washed out.  Pay attention to your exposure as the sun is setting as it can cause the moon to be over-exposed. Remember the moon is illuminated by the sun but the sunlight gets diffused by the atmosphere at sunset so the landscape becomes not as bright as the moon. To monitor this situation, I usually have the highlight alert turned-on (AKA the blinkies) to let me know when this occurs.


Getting the moon-rise at exactly the right time to show landscape colors and texture in the moon can be very frustrating and take time to scout but getting it right can produce some really stunning photos. Even if you don’t succeed the first time there is always next month!