Grasp the Moonlight
Capturing the moon is very difficult and, to be frank, I have never been a pro at it.
During scouting, I noticed this very interesting tree and immediately knew it would make an absolutely perfect foreground element. I only needed something to help spice up the image a little more.
So I came back to the location at night and was happy to realize there was a full moon. However, I could not capture the moon together with the tree and I really wanted this to be a single shot image (meaning I didn’t want to shoot separate exposures of the tree and moon then blend them in Photoshop). The best thing to do was to actually hide the moon behind the tree, and after a few attempts in adjusting my tripod, I finally found the perfect composition.
Now the moon seemed to highlight the tree in a delicate, ethereal glow, which is so much more impactful than what I had originally envisioned for the photo. A long shutter speed was necessary for both drawing in enough light to expose the photo, but also because I noticed soft, almost transparent clouds moving across the sky. For clouds like these, a long exposure will transform them into long, silky streaks across the sky. This is one of my favorite effects to create in my images!
The final touch was to shine my headlamp (which emits cool lighting) very quickly along the tree, then spend the remaining exposure time filling up the foreground with light. This “light painting” not only helps to brighten up the image but it also keeps the hard, front facing light source of the moon from effecting the rest of the image
Image Code: A047Nizhoni Photo, from