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How to Photograph and Composite the Moon | Tony Northup

By Hanssie on December 9th 2015

It seems that 2015 was the year of celestial events. Seemingly every other month saw a once-in-xx-years Super Moon, eclipse, meteor shower, or some other event that sent astrophotographers staying up till the wee hours so we’d wake up with our news feeds cluttered with moon photos. Not that I’m complaining because I was cozily snoring in my warm bed but still was able to enjoy the moon via photos my computer screen.


I attempted to photograph the moon a few times this year, and they turned out pretty badly (admittedly, one of the times, I was using my iPhone…) so this following video from Tony Northrup will come in handy the next time. In the 8-minute video, Tony shows you how to photograph the moon with a regular kit lens, using manual mode and what settings you should be on. The image looks pretty good, but then he shows us what it looks like on a 400mm lens as well.


Of course, who wants to just see a plain old moon against a boring black sky these days? No one, so the latter part of the video is Tony demonstrating how to composite your moon into an image to create a lovely landscape portrait of the moon against a cityscape. Finally, Tony talks about using Registax (a freeware program) to stack all your moon photos to make one very detailed, sharp image of the moon.

The next Super Moon isn’t slated until late 2016, so you have time to practice before the big event. Watch the video below:

To see more from Tony Northrup, check out his YouTube channel here.

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Hanssie is a Southern California-based writer and sometimes portrait and wedding photographer. In her free time, she homeschools, works out, rescues dogs and works in marketing for SLR Lounge. She also blogs about her adventures and about fitness when she’s not sick of writing so much. Check out her work and her blog at Follow her on Instagram

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Uday Arunachalam

    amazing video… definitely going to try this out on the next super moon… Also thanks for tip on compositing moon on a landscape picture

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  2. Thomas Major

    When I try to download the software from

    There is an error. This has been happening for the past 24 hours.

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    This account’s links are generating too much traffic and have been temporarily disabled!

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  3. Ralph Hightower

    Past the full moon of January 2012, I got the idea to do a year long project: photograph the full moons of the year from February 2012 to January 2013, photographing the rising and setting of the full moon.

    I did research for lunar photography and the majority of web sites recommended using the Sunny 16 Rule: Set the lens aperture to f/16, and the shutter speed to one over the ISO; if using ISO 100, use 1/125.

    Since I was shooting B&W film exclusively in 2012, I used the B&W contrast filters of yellow, orange, and red for my 80-205mm f4.5 lens at 205. I bracketed -1, 0, and +1 stop over for each filter, so that was a total of nine photographs using the 80-205 zoom. I also took photos using my 400mm f6.3 lens bracketing from -1 to +1. I used the self timer on the Canon A-1 mounted on the tripod to reduce motion.

    Later, I learned about the Looney 11 Rule, which uses f/11 instead of f/16. But I was already into this shot list.

    For the most part, I was blessed with great weather, sometimes cold, but on 2-3 days, rain would cancel the shoot.

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  4. carl rug

    This is really helpful!!!!

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  5. robert garfinkle

    As much as I love shooting the moon, my attempted blood moon, to my expectations, was dismal and poor – this is a great lesson, thanks hanssie

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