Moonlight and lightning

The night is a wonderful time to take photographs. I particularly love to take shots of the Milky Way, lightning storms, and moonlit landscapes.

Moonlight is simply sunlight bounced off the gray moon and it has the same color balance as sunlight. Moonlight photographs look very much like daylight images except you can see stars and any source of artificial light appears to be very bright.

Moonlight is much dimmer than sunlight so you have to use a longer exposure and/or higher ASA/ISO setting. Use of a tripod is essential.

For me, the best time to take moonlit images is at full moon when the moon is low on the horizon. Moonlit images taken when the moon is higher are similar to daylight photos at noon when everything looks “flat”.

Photographing under the full moon is much safer since you can usually see quite well and are not as likely to trip over your tripod 🙂 . The bright light also allows much shorter exposures.

Here is a photograph I took of Apalachee bay using the light of a nearly full moon. There was a storm offshore with lightning which illuminated one of the foreground clouds. The lightning yields a violet color in this image.

The lights from buoys and radio towers can be seen in the image.

The following image is taken of the St. Marks NWR lighthouse. I wish the lighthouse were still lit because that would have been a great capture.

This image shows the the lighthouse pool illuminated by a rising full moon.

If you decide to do any moonlight photography please be careful and have fun!

More night images can be found here.

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