Moonscape Photography in Dorset

I recently headed out in the middle of January under the full moon with my friend and Dorset based photographer Ed Holbrook with the goal of capturing some famous Dorset landscapes with a slight twist.

Moonscape photography is something that we have developed a passion for as we are able to capture images of popular landscapes and put our own mark on them.

The full moon is a fantastic light source which is far less harsh and slightly cooler than the sun. Moonlight provides photographers the ability to produce moody long exposures with some fantastic light. With certain settings you can capture an image at midnight to look like it was taken during the day.

Dorset Moonscape Photography

As mentioned in my previous post about Dorset landscape photography there are many beautiful locations to consider when heading out with a camera. The following images are a few of my favourite moonlight shots that I have produced recently around the coast and countryside of Dorset.

moon lit stair hole

Stair Hole (near Lulworth Cove)

Stair Hole is a fantastic looking geological structure right next to the Lulworth Cove visitors centre and with recent renovations to the area the location is accessible to everyone.

This is my favourite image to date from this genre of photography, it was taken on a cloudy night in January, the clouds acted as a diffuser and provided some fantastic soft blue light over the coast.

As moonlight is less harsh than sunlight I was able to lower my shutter speed which provided some beautiful patterns in the sea.

This particular shot was a 6 shot panoramic which means I took 6 separate shots and blended them together in Photoshop to allow for a larger field of view that a single image.

corfe castle at night

Corfe Castle

A famous landmark in Dorset that is captured by photographers all year round. Although most photographs are taken from the west hill during sunrise.

This particular shot was taken from the other side and can this composition can work well in a landscape format. I planned this shot so I had the moonlight behind me shining directly onto the hill providing a nice cool light.

Due to the bright moonlight I was able to lower my iso (light sensitivity settings) which has provided a much cleaner image which will produce a much more detailed print. Unfortunately the brighter moonlight means far less detail with the stars in the night sky.

man o war bay

Man o War Bay (by Durdle Door)

This bay next to Durdle Door usually gets overlooked due to its famous siblings Durdle Door and Bat's Head which is a shame due to its crystal blue water and interesting rocks and cliffs.

The moon was facing me whilst this image was captured which has added a slight silhouette on the rocks in the sea but illuminated the waves crashing around them which has added a nice effect.

The moon was so bright this image looks like it could have been shot during the day especially with the shadow detail and the bright side of the image which could easily be the sun.

Whats next for my night photography?

I am hoping 2017 will bring me many more opportunities for my astro and moonscape photography. I am planning to do a series of these moonscapes and hope to get different conditions each time to allow for more interesting images.

In the summer I am looking forward to the 'Milky Way season' when the galatic core of the milky way is at its most prominent allowing for stunning night photos.