I would like to ask about photographing night sky (stacked photos) with 80% Moon. It's about 80%, but the moonrise will be at 21:59. So technically when I would like to take photos of the opposite site (in mountains) of the sky around 22:30, would there be sufficient dark to take a worthy photos? Should I give up and come at moonless night?

  • \$\begingroup\$ In my experience night sky photos look like it is daylight with almost any moon in the sky. That is if you are trying to get stars. A few minutes before moonrise the photos begin to wash out if you are pointed toward the moon. With slivers of moon you can capture some pretty awesome photos of foreground and sky mixed with good star exposure. Remember that you could use the 20% part of the night that is dark to capture your stars, then wait for the moon and expose for it. Composite them together. I usually just use PhotoPills app to pick the next good viewing time. Happy clicking. \$\endgroup\$
    – cliffclof
    Aug 8, 2020 at 9:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ wow, that nice idea! Thanks, I'm going to try it tomorrow! Hope for a cloudless sky :) \$\endgroup\$ Aug 8, 2020 at 12:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ Sounds like i answered what you are trying to accomplish? I’ll turn it into an answer form then. \$\endgroup\$
    – cliffclof
    Aug 8, 2020 at 16:53

1 Answer 1


My experience with star photos and almost any moon will make photos appear to be daylight out.

If you are trying to capture the moon in the shot with stars it will be very difficult unless the moon is a sliver crescent. A few minutes before moonrise your sky will begin to wash out similar to the sunrise.

If you are trying to capture photos facing away from the moonrise it can illuminate the landscape in different ways that can either be good or bad depending on what you are trying to achieve. The photos can often turn out looking like a daytime shoot with small moons in the sky.

One option if you want the moon in the shot, and you are not trying to accurately depict the night sky, is to set your camera on a tripod. Use the 20% darkness portion of the night to capture the stars. Then wait for the moon to rise where you anticipate and expose for it. Snap; composite them together.

Your best bet is to use an app like Photopills to determine the next night that meets criteria for a desired shot.

Here is a timelapse i shot in this video that shows a moon rise for reference.


Happy snapping.

  • \$\begingroup\$ A double exposure for stars and Moon may be photographically great but it's astronomically awful, because the Moon appears in a different part of the sky than where it actually is (relative to stars). You can get impressive photos this way, but astronomers would say they are fake. \$\endgroup\$
    – Pere
    Oct 8, 2023 at 10:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ Good input for those looking to take astronomically accurate photos. I was referring to the stacked landscape being lit by the moon behind the camera and out of frame. I also wasn't talking about astronomical accuracy and rather artistic photographic composition. Glad you brought that up so no one will be confused. \$\endgroup\$
    – cliffclof
    Jan 31 at 6:04

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