This 13th-century church is close to my home in southern England, and I have lost count of how many times I have photographed it over the past twenty years. I have pictures of it in all four seasons, at all times of day. Looking for a fresh approach, I decided to try shooting using nothing but the light of the moon - which is, after all, reflected sunlight!
Old Church by Moonlight
© Simon Stafford
All Rights Reserved
Moonlight Photography Techniques
You can shoot anywhere between the first and third quarter moon phases. (Note: Here's a link for useful information about the moon and its cycles: http://www.MoonPhases.info/#Moon_Information )
The technique is quite simple. Some tips:
For this image, I used a 24mm lens and a Nikon D3x.
- Set your camera to manual exposure mode.
- Then select a shutter speed of 30 seconds at an aperture of f/4, with a sensitivity of ISO 800.
- Avoid a longer exposure to prevent the stars appearing as trails of light rather than bright points.
- Also, make sure there is no light pollution from nearby buildings, street lighting, etc.
- The only other piece of essential equipment for this sort of picture is a sturdy tripod.
Take Your Photography to the Next Level in Online Photo Workshop!
Simon Stafford teaches a number of excellent online photo courses, including one on photographic composition.In addition, the BetterPhoto digital photography school offers many more classes on working with natural light and digital camera exposure.
About Author / Instructor / Photographer, Simon Stafford
Simon Stafford first became interested in photography while a university student. Completely self-taught, he talked his way into a job as the photographer for the university's weekly newspaper and has been shooting pictures ever since. His photographs have been used widely in newspapers, books, calendars, and magazines, and he has also enjoyed numerous successes in many photographic competitions.
Simon has built up a wealth of experience over the past thirty years in both film and digital photography. Throughout his photographic career he has used the Nikon system extensively, adopting digital photography at an early stage with the release of the Nikon D1 camera during 1999; he has being using digital cameras exclusively since 2004. He completed his first book, The Nikon Compendium, during 2003. With nearly 400 pages and Simon's own extensive photography of Nikon cameras, Nikkor lenses, and Nikon system accessories, it represents a comprehensive history of the Nikon system for the user and collector alike. He has also written over twenty books on the Nikon camera system for the Magic Lantern Guide series, published by Sterling Publishing.
He is involved in a wide variety of photographic projects, which include leading his own photographic workshops and, tutoring workshops for Tatra Photography, contributing illustrated articles to leading U.K. photography magazines, he is also Technical Editor to Nikon Owner magazine.