Chasing Light: Full moon quest

Winter moon.

With all the hullabaloo over this month’s supermoon, it’s worth pointing out that moonrise is spectacular any month. I’ve been trying to get the ultimate moonrise shot for many years now. Some of the images here are tantalizingly close, but there’s always room for improvement. And while I’m a huge fan of mobile smartphone photography, I have found that a single-lens reflex camera with a good telephoto lens works best for me. I have yet to try one of the add-on telephoto lenses for iPhones — but it’s on my list.

But chasing the full moon isn’t all about tech. I often stop during a photo shoot, put down my cameras and reflect on the intricate celestial dance of sunset and moonrise, part of the vast cosmic spin that holds it all together, including us — we are stardust, right?

Most people focus on the night of the full moon as per the celestial calendar, but here’s a little secret. The light for photographing moonrise is usually best one day BEFORE, when the moon looks just as full, but climbs into the sky an hour earlier, just at dusk when there is still some other color and light in the sky.

Conversely, the best day for photographing the full moon while it’s setting is one day AFTER the calendar full moon, for the same reasons. That’s when the moon drops close to the horizon while dawn colors fill the sky. Camera or not, it’s glorious sight, wherever you are.