Great Series of Photos of Airplane crossing the Full Moon

Airplane captured crossing the Full Moon in Oregon

Airplane captured crossing the Full Moon in Oregon

We had a wonderful Full Moon rising in the East the other night.

Then I remembered there is a flight path in that part of the sky with airplanes heading from LA to Portland Airport to the North and decided to try get a plane flying across the moon!

I rushed out with my Canon 5D Mark III with a Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L lens and 1.4X Teleconverter (to get a little extra reach). ** NOTE: the amazing Canon 5D Mark IV is out in 3 DAYS but if you don’t need the extra resolution ( 30.4 MP versus 22.3 with the Mark III), touchscreen, or 4K Video (along with a bunch of other enhancements) then the Mark III is still an awesome camera and will save you US$1000!

Back to the moon…

I had the camera on a tripod and waited for about 20 minutes (as you probably know Patience is a big factor in photography) – one airplane flew by too low to position myself to get it in front of the moon – then another 15 minutes or so passed and a saw an airplane coming out from the south behind some Douglas fir trees that looked like it could intersect with the moon.

I should mention that I had taken a few test shots of the moon first – the counter intuitive part of taking moon photos is that your exposure is more similar to a Daytime shot! (NOT a Night Photo). I had settled on Aperture f/4.5 at ISO 400 and a Shutter Speed of 1/1000 sec. Plenty fast enough to freeze the airplane movement.

Also, White Balance was set to Daylight!

NOTE: You do need to use Manual Exposure as the moon was not large enough in the frame to get a correct exposure (the camera was overexposing the shot in Aperture Priority mode as the moon was surrounded by pitch black! – the photos above are Crops of the original images).

So the airplane was heading towards the moon and I was frantically re-positioning the tripod to get a shot where I thought they would intersect. A few seconds before the airplane actually passed the moon I know I had the right position for the airplane trajectory…

then with High Speed shutter release mode I rattled off about 6 shots…

It was hard to tell how well I had aligned the shoot until I reviewed the images after and zoomed in on the moon…

Of course, I was super happy how the series came out 🙂

I definitely view photography as a fun adventure and this was a very rewarding little test. I guess that was one of the reasons I started my new Digital Photography Insiders program ( – to take people on a Journey of Photographic Discovery (and experimentation) – where you can learn the basics you need and then develop your skills and style through trying things out. DPinsiders is currently closed for enrollment but you can join the Waiting List by CLICKING HERE and ensure you get notified immediately when I open doors again (and get an exclusive subscriber only deal).




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