There are many ways a photograph comes into existence, artistically speaking. A photographer can simply leave everything to chance; just got out the door one day, and find a photo in what is presented to him or her. Or a photographer could plan out a shot ahead of time. If one goes this route, it’s amazing what details a photographer can control, such as the placement of celestial objects. As humans have known since ancient times, the moon and sun follow a predictable course through the sky. While this information is normally used for assisting with farming and keeping time, it’s also possible to use it to create striking photos.
Take ep_jhu’s photo above. Knowing the time and placement of the setting full moon allowed him to catch Luna as it was setting against the city’s skyline. The photo gives a fascinating scale for both moon and buildings. In fact, the shot is very reminiscent of Ansel Adam’s famous Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico. It is a simple and stunning, well planned shot.
And if you’re interested in planning out a moon (or sun rise) shot, I can recommend the Photographer’s Ephemeris. It will give line of sight views on the tracking of both the moon and sun, along with all three times for settings. A well informed photographer could not ask for more!