The Hidden World of Moonlight Photography - Part 2

By Goran Prvulovic

A couple of weeks ago we covered the topic of moonlight photography, as well as what the moon has represented historically, and how to capture the magical elegance of this celestial object in your own shooting sessions. This week, I wanted to expound on the topic a bit further and go over a couple more unique pictures I took back in a trip I took to Hawaii.

It’s worth noting that when it comes to moonlight photography, it takes some practice to visualize how your images will look at night when you take them, and especially how much you can digitally enhance your photos in a relatively dark environment. You would be surprised at just how different a picture can look even if it is in the darkest of night skies.


Perhaps few photos can better reflect this truth than the one above. Taken in the darkness of the night, even though we don’t see the moon, we can observe the remarkable amount of moonlight that gets reflected off of the Pacific Ocean. The effect is so pronounced that you can almost be fooled into thinking it's still daytime, or at least perhaps that the sun is setting. The horizon has been altered to give off a slight yellow color to it alongside the visible moonlight that we can see coming from the top of the photo.


Here’s another picture that
shows us that same thing, albeit with a better look at the horizon. The picture is almost deceptive in how it’s setup, seeing just how much light there is in the photo one would almost think the sun has just set below the horizon.

Of course, unlike the sun, the moon itself will vary regarding its degree of brightness depending on which phase it currently is in. If you’re trying to shoot in the middle of the night and capture the Milky Way, a full moon might be a hindrance, as its bright light – while beautiful – can be a hindrance and wash out the brightest stars from the sky. In such a case, a new moon would be your best bet.

Like I mentioned previously, moonlight photography is an entire world in and of itself that is worthy of study and experimentation. I just hope that you find these posts encouraging and helpful in your own photography adventures.

Until next time,

Goran Prvulovic