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Stunning Silhouettes Against a Giant Moonrise

giant moonrise biking silhouette

Any photography buff will tell you that the trick to shooting a large moon is with a powerful telephoto lens. That will have your moon appear abnormally large in the picture. This is probably the only variable you could possibly control, as the rest of the conditions are left mostly to nature. How clear the night sky is, what cycle is the moon in, how unhampered a vantage point you can find are all pretty much left to chance, and some luck. When you have all these conditions working in your favor, odds are pretty good that you will come-up with a decent shot, and the desired effect of a large moon image.

Photographer Philipp Schmidli of Lucerne, Switzerland, was fortunate enough to have these confluence of circumstances working remarkably well in his favor.

silhouette against moon

Patience is a virtue, and in Schmidli’s case, his persistence paid off incredibly well.  The Swiss lens man had been waiting for four months now, until he realized the perfect chance to photograph the image in his mind’s eye had arrived.  All things come to he who waits, and indeed they came to Schmidli. The perfect location, clear skies, a fabulous full moon all materialized on an April night, and Schmidli and camera were more than ready for the lunar event. He had pre-selected an ideal location to shoot from, which he found thru Google earth. He knew he needed a hill in the distance so he could frame his subject as the moon prepped herself to appear.

silhouette against giant moonrise

Wanting a mammoth sphere, he needed distance for the shoot, and ended up 1.3 kilometers from the biker subject.  Schmidli shot with a Canon 1DX, a Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II, and a 2x teleconverter, bringing his focal length to 1200mm. Camera settings were ISO 2500, f/25, and 1/250s.

camera setup shooting giant moonrise

The results were images nothing short of spectacular. Even though this has been a recurring theme with photographers all over the world, Schmidli’s version of the proverbial moon with the silhouetted man crossing her spherical shape impressively stands out with fairy tale charm.

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Patricia Ramos the author

I am a freelance photographer who is no stranger to smudged lenses, long hours in front of the computer, heavy camera bags (and the back aches that ensued) and missing lens caps. If you know what I'm talking about, you probably have as much love and passion for photography as I do.

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