Photographing the moon as well as the clouds


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Aug 16, 2020
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Every time I photograph the moon, I'm able to get the moon just fine, but most of the time, there's some great clouds covering it but they never show up on the photo. Any advice on capturing both the moon and clouds?

There's some light pollution where i'm shooting from but again, doesn't seem to hinder capturing the moon. Would be being in complete dark help me capture the clouds?
A multi exposure blend might work. Not something I have tried for this tho.
The clouds are simply too dark against the moon, which should be treated as full sunlight. Because, after all, it is!
You mean like this?

Nikon D700
ISO 200
1/60 sec

Covid-19 2020 - geenfoto
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Here is a place to start.

These are taken with a tripod mounted camera, manual settings, two second shutter delay to steady camera.
#1 Aperture f5.6, shutter 1/3 sec. ISO 3200, 55 mm.
moon lit clouds 2.JPG

#2 Aperture 3,5, Shutter 1/3 sec. ISO 3200, 18 mm
Moon clouds 5.jpg

You will notice below the moon in the cloud is a greenish lens flare. This is what happens when you forget to take off the UV or other filter when shooting a point source light.

Good Luck
Are you shooting raw and and exposing for the moon? If so you might be able to pull the clouds out by pulling up the shadows in post. It is amazing how much detail is sometimes there.

I doubt HDR will work but you might try under exposed HDR.
I have found that unless, you catch the moon on the horizon, with some daylight remaining, it is almost impossible to get the "man in the moon" features and this limits the amount of the back lit clouds.

This is mainly due to the limited latitude of the digital sensor.

However, for the post processing gurus, it becomes an interesting challenge.
I doubt this is what you had in mind as the clouds are very understated. I had been out stalking a Bald Eagle and the moon rose behind some clouds so I shot this hand held with an 800mm lens.

You have got to love those long lenses, that is an excellent moon shot. Nice surface features with just enough shadows to enhance a few craters. And hand held no less.

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