Wednesday, January 15, 2014

A challenge for astrophotographers and landscape photographers

Calling all astrophotographers and landscape photographers - I've got a challenge for you! We've all seen full color photos of a landscape lit by the moon with stars in the sky:

But what about a pristine landscape lit only by the moon under completely overcast skies? That condition existed on about 15% of all nights back when life evolved, but I suspect that it's probably the most infrequently photographed landscape that exists on Earth. I could really use such a photo for a paper I'm working on at the moment, so if you know of one, please pass it on to me. If you've never seen such a photo, it's a challenge! Perhaps you'll be the first person ever to take such a photo?

It is essential that the region be nearly completely free of artificial lights, otherwise the scene will just be lit by the artificial skyglow (light pollution), rather than the diffuse moonlight shining through the clouds. You'll probably want the moon to be at least about 20 degrees above the horizon in order to have enough light to take the photo. The photo should show both the sky and the landscape.

Whoever is the first to submit a photo that matches the description will have the honor of the photo being displayed on this blog, and a holographic postcard of Europe by day and by night!


  1. Would this qualify? -

  2. Oops...looks like you wanted it to be overcast. My apologies.

  3. Okay, one more possibility. -

  4. Hi Stephen,

    Thanks for your links! Unfortunately, I want to see what it's like when the sky is completely overcast, so that you can't see the moon at all (kind of like the weather today in Berlin - I can't see the sun, but I know it's up because it's light out). If you ever take such a photo, I'd also be curious to know what it feels like to be out on an overcast moonlit night. How well can you see?

  5. Normally I'd want thinner clouds or some added light on a foreground subject (like this example), but that would be an easy shot to set up.
    I'm sure that I have some "reject" time-lapse videos where clouds moved in while I slept. I can think of several with dark starry skies, one that I don't think I've uploaded with a moonlit cloudy sky over Death Valley.

    1. Hi Jeff,

      I would be very interested in seeing one of your "reject" photos with a completely overcast, moonlit sky and no added light. The closer to full moon the better, because the landscape should get a lot brighter and the colors should come out.