The Moon as a Light Source

Moonrise over Hernandez

Moonrise Over Hernandez by Ansel Adams

“Moonrise over Hernandez, New Mexico” by Ansel Adams is a great example of this.

I find it very powerful to stand alone in the middle of the night surrounded by Joshua Trees and their ghostly moonlight shadows. It gets really cold in winter but that’s the best time to shoot because the skies are super clear. One of my favorite times to shoot is during the full moon. In fact, I always use a moon calendar to keep track of  when the next full moon will rise.

The location is also very important and you have to position yourself in area free of light pollution. Two of my favorite areas to shoot are right here in Southern California, both Joshua Tree National Park and Death Valley are great areas to shoot and are very accessible to get to and travel within.

What is amazing is the depth and intensity of the colors that you get. Long exposures — if not too windy — are a must. Stars and satellites will start appearing in the images and the color spectrum will be surreal.

Have you tried shooting at night with the moon as a light source? If not, you should.

Pack up your camera bag, bring a tripod, and don’t forget to bring a powerful flashlight to help you focus your camera on the subject of your choice.

It’s an experience of a lifetime and you will have fun!

Full Moon Series

My latest series of 4 vertical panels shot in Joshua Tree

See more of these images in my Vertical Panel portfolio.