Moon Rise Photos (Multiple Exposures)


TPF Noob!
Jul 6, 2003
Reaction score
I was looking to do some shots capturing the path of the moon across the sky (on the same frame) and was just wondering if anyone could help me with some advice. I'll probably shoot ISO 100 or 200 and plan to use a full moon initially and thus will apply the sunny 16 rule, but since i will be making multiple exposures i was wondering what peoples thoughts are as to stopping down.

Assuming that it's just the moon against the darkened sky do you think that i should be able to get away with 1/125 for 3 exposures or should i stop down to cater for light pollution (in the suburbs and from the moon itself) and if so how many.

Also if i were to include a lit foreground in the shot (say a city skyline) would i have to stop down for the skyline to get it correct for three exposures (and thus underexpose each moon shot)?

I guess in effect i am looking for advice on appropriate aperature and shutter speed settings to take multiple shots of the moon on the same frame both with and without foreground. Later i would like to try more than 3 exposures (assuming that this method works to my satisfaction).

the easiest, most effective way to do it:

if your film is 100asa (or ei) you can expose one frame correctly.

set your asa dial to 200. you can now expose two frames as per what you metered for each scene.

don't forget to change the asa back to resume normal shooting...

...the previous poster has suggested underexposing each of your moon shots by -1 Stop (pushing 100 ISO to 200)


If shooting multiple exposures of the moon against a black sky that is not necessary - in fact you may get a more pleasing result (using the "lunny 16 Rule") with 100 ISO at f11/125

So, now you have two opinions - overexpose/underexpose - isn't the Internet wonderful. LOL!

Try both, you'll arrive at what's best to match your own metering technique

For your shots including the nightscape skyline (against a black sky) meter as normal then (*recompose and) add the moon

Look forward to seeing your results

Best wishes!



* EDIT: text added may safely disregard celestial objects (stars, planets & satellites) when determining exposure for photographing the moon

Indeed, they may add to or enhance an image - but, as a light source, they contribute less than 1/3 of a stop to the overall exposure and are not relevant in that regard

Many thanks to the other poster for pulling me up on my "black sky"assumption: the original question was phrased as "... Assuming that it's just the moon against the darkened sky"

Silly me...



Hi Hojamohoho,

Astrophotography is one of my hobbies, which includes taking pics of the moon, I use a fully automatic digital camera for shots of the moon and planets and film for deep sky objects and stars etc. I may be able to give some pointers, take this shot for example…


The camera reported using an aperture of F2.8 with a shutter speed of 1/40 sec although I think it was a little over exposed. As you can see the sky is black, although it wasn’t when the picture was taken. One thing I learned about shooting the moon is that it’s brighter than you think!

On an astronomical note, There’s a term called “seeing” which refers to how steady the air is between here and the moon and it will affect how much detail will be in your shots. You can try to work around this by choosing a night of good seeing and by taking many shots, then choose the sharpest one. You can tell when the seeing is bad because the stars twinkle a lot!

As you’re planning to take multiple exposures, I presume you want make a record of the moon moving through the sky, so you might want to do a dummy run first to get exposure intervals, as apposed to just moving your camera to suit and one more thing, use the sturdiest tripod you have to minimise vibration I don’t think you have to worry too much about light pollution and you’ll not be doing a long enough exposure to capture any stars, but if you do want to have stars in the background you’d probably have to do separate long exposure such as this one, which was taken with a 28mm lens with aperture wide open and shutter speed 40 seconds!…


I look forward to seeing your results :D
Thanks guys...

I have an EOS 10 which has a funky little function in the intervelometer, so i was planning on setting that up at probably 10minute intervals (since the moon should move approxamately 5 times its aparent size through the sky). I was wondering about exposure time as i have tried similar shots before (moving the frame around the moon however - 2 exposures) which turned out reasonbly sharp but with the sky not dark (had a greenish cast through it and wasn't a black as i desired - perhaps processing?) and also a 3 exposure one in which the sky was a greyish colour (i tried scanning them but my scanner is pretty poor and they don't look anything like the originals, i can only seem to make them look better, rather than match the prints)

I have a telescope (1000mm f11) which i'll be using so i've tried shots at 1/125 with decent results (i tried this on my EOS300, which doesn't have mirror lock up so the shot was blurred, but the exposure seem ok).
had a greenish cast through it and wasn't a black as i desired - perhaps processing?

I’ve given up finding a developer that can process night time shots correctly, In the end I purchased a negative scanner, but if you have to have prints done, tell them that the film contains night time shots so they know not to treat your shots as if there massively under exposed. Also shoot a couple of shots in normal lighting at the beginning and end of the film so that they know where to cut the negs. One film I took in of moon pics confused the machine so much that the moon was spread out over two prints!
and if a previous poster could read correctly (english IS the native language of new zealand), the title of the post is:

Moon Rise Photos (Multiple Exposures)

you can stop posturing now, tough guy. i'm here to help, not get an ego boost (such as others).

silly you....
Just another thought about including something in the foreground, one technique I like to try, which you couldn’t use on a city skyline but might be able to adapt is to compose your shot so that the foreground object, maybe a statue, is completely in the dark when you take your shots of the moon and then when the moon has moved out of frame expose the frame again with a flash illuminating the statue.

In astrophotography, this technique is used by performing a long exposure of the sky with trees in the distance and in the dark, just before your long exposure is finished you walk upto the trees and point a flashgun at the trees and flash them. The result is a nice starry sky with trees giving perspective to the shot.

Cheers :D

Most reactions