Capturing Both the Crescent Moon and ‘Earthshine’ in One Image

This is something I’ve been wanting to attempt for a while, but the skies have not be clear enough to do so. Iowa skies in fact have been almost constantly cloudy of late – or a least when one wants to shoot the moon.

This is Saturday night’s (4/25/2020) crescent moon shot in HDR (high dynamic range), showing the 8.6% crescent, lit by the sun, and the remaining moon, lit only by sunlight reflecting off of the earth’s surface – AKA earthshine.

I consider it an experiment, having never attempted it before. It is 9 photos, shot back-to-back, each at various exposures, combined to showcase the entire moon, without the sunlit side being over exposed or the earthshine side being to dark to see.

The images were shot with a Nikon D850 and a Tamron 600mm lens at 600mm and f/6.3, on a tripod, with no tracker. All shots at ISO 640. Exposures were: 1/50 sec, 1/30, 1/20, 1/13, 1/8, 1/5, 1/3, 0.5 secs, and 0.8 secs. The photos were combined with Lightroom’s HDR feature and then cleaned up in Photoshop.

Here’s the final product:

About the author: Christopher Sherman is a photographer and the founder of Artists Sunday, an alliance of original artists (including photographers), trusted non-profit organizations and supportive sponsors encouraging consumers to shop with artists during the holiday season. You can find more of his work on his website, or by following him on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. This article was also published here.

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