We haven’t really discussed Moonrise and Moonset. Most dictionaries will tell you these aren’t even words, but they are words just as Sunrise and Sunset are. When shooting night photography, the moon is your only natural light source. So even though you may not be taking shots of the moon, it is still a good idea to know how much natural light you are going to have.
This image is from a screen shot from timeanddate.com, and an example of some of the information they offer for free from their site. I have added a link to this in our link section so you don’t have to go hunt down this blog post. I was blown away when I first discovered this site. The site I used previously only gave the time for the moonrise and moonset.
Once you pick the city you want information for you get:
- A monthly lunar calendar chart
- Time of moonrise and moonset for the city
- Percentage of moon that is lit
- Distance to the moon (it varies more than 20k miles every month)
- Direction of the moonrise and moonset
- Current position to the moon
- Degree of altitude to the moon at a given time
- The moons heading
- When the moon passes the meridian
- Moon phases
- and the Night Sky (beta)
I guess if you say wanted to setup the moon to be in the back drop of a scene you could. Once you picked the location for the shot you just need to go to the calendar, click on the day for the shoot and see if the moon is going to even be close before you head out and things don’t line up. Yup, do you remember those weird off the wall question problems you had to figure out in math. The one that made you say I will never use this stuff in real life.
Everybody has different needs and uses information differently. I don’t talk to anybody, so I don’t know what everyone else is using. If you have been to this site before then you know. If you haven’t then you should at least take a peak. It can never hurt to have more than one source for similar information.