Waning Crescent Moon and Venus at Sunrise

Terrance Alexander



We finally had a nice morning last week for some sunrise shots so I ventured out early to the Pittsfield Nature Preserve near me. As I stepped out of the car I was greeted by this view of a small sliver moon and the planet Venus over the pre-sunrise sky. One of those times when an image pops up when least expected.

I especially like the silhouette of the trees in the foreground against the pre-dawn deep blue sky. I wish the sun glow on the horizon and the size of the moon had been more pronounced but we take what nature presents. I did a little highlight enhancing on the moon and Venus to help them stand out a little better against the sky.

What technical feedback would you like if any?

Any feedback is appreciated

What artistic feedback would you like if any?

Any feedback is appreciated

Pertinent technical details or techniques:

(If this is a composite, etc. please be honest with your techniques to help others learn)
This image was taken using a Canon EOS R camera and EF17-40mm f/4L USM lens: 34mm, ¹⁄₆₀ sec at f/8.0, ISO 200 on tripod and processed using LR Classic.

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It’s an interesting concept. I like the vegetation, the clouds, and I actually like the color in the sky. I am not sure about the tree, and as you mention, the moon could be more prominent.

Thanks Lyle - the vegetation is the tops of unharvested corn all tasseled out. Since my post I did a little playing around in Photoshop to enlarge the moon and planet a little. I’m proficient in LR but so much in PS. But I think it does improve the image.

I agree that this is an interesting concept. There are certain things in images that usually command visual interest, bright objects (like the moon), and strong shapes (like the tree silhouette) being two of them. Strong colors can also demand attention, you have that in a nice gradient of blue in the sky, but as you noted the warm dawn glow was not as strong as you would have liked. I think your decision to rework this to make the moon bigger helps the image, the moon is bright and is going to grab attention, but in the original image it was too small. I have found that in doing these types of images that backing away from the tree and using a longer focal length like 200m or 300mm is a better way to make the moon larger (you were pretty wide here at 34mm). You have to decrease shutter speed accordingly as focal length increases, to keep the moon sharp.

While the tree silhouette is important, for my taste you have too much land silhouette at the bottom of the image. Starting from your rework, I would suggest considering a crop like this.

I’ll second @Ed_McGuirk; he’s nailed it both in his comments and his re-work. I do like the “cold blue” feel this has.

Thanks Ed - I do like the cropping you did.