The Difference A Little Light Makes

Without the Crescent

With the Crescent as captured.

Hi All,

On Sunday evening I went to the ridge where I have been photographing my crescent moons for the last 7 years to find some interesting clouds right where the crescent was supposed to be. While I did capture the crescent, the sky itself was pretty dramatic, both in color and in the various cloud textures. So what I am posting is one of the photographs I made of the crescent, but the lead photo has the crescent cloned out. The second photo is the original with the crescent as captured.

Specific Feedback Requested

How does the crescent’s presence change the photograph for you?

Technical Details

Nikon D850, Nikon 400mm f/5.6 lens at f5.6 at 1/5 sec ISO 100. Processed Lightroom Classic and PS CS6.


I vote for the crescent, Youssef. It provides a sense of space, place, and size. It adds a nice touch to an exciting image all around. Wonderful colors and a terrific gradient.

Quite often I find moons more distracting than additive, but in this instance, I definitely prefer the version with the moon. The moon grabs just the right amount of attention, not overwhelming the great sky but adding a real nice element. Very well done on this one.

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I could go either way on these two images, Youssef. In the top photo, the sky is almost an abstract kind of image and although you’re pretty sure you know what you’re looking at, it could easily be water with ink added to it like you have when you do tie die t-shirts with the ink swirling around very much like this. It also could be the dark reaches of outer space with a bunch of space dust making those crazy formations. The beautiful complimentary colors and the swirling shapes and forms in the clouds are what give it that abstract type of feel to it. This image has a minimalist type of feel to it and it does well without the moon in it.
In the second image, you know for sure it’s the sky and adding in the moon gives it more presence than the first image. No longer a minimalist scene, but a scene with context. I quite like what @Harley_Goldman had to say about the moon grabbing just the right amount of attention but not overwhelming your terrific sky. How great is it that the placement of the moon is right where it needs to be in the frame. Serendipity for sure. It was worth the 7 years you put into this image. I think I prefer the second image but like I said, I could easily go for either.

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Oh Youssef, this image is incredible. I find myself having a hard time deciding which one I like the best. I think both are winners. I may be leaning towards the crescent because it gives the eye something to focus on, but what a hard choice to make. The colors are so beautiful! Thanks for sharing.

Gorgeous!! While both version are wonderful, I’ll vote strongly for the one with the moon. The thin crescent is beautiful in itself and its presence elevates this above another lovely evening cloud scene and makes it more intentional.

The moon is the star, no contest.

It certainly makes it the focal point when its in the frame… and without it I spend more time looking at the textures of the clouds. Both seem to work for different reasons.

Agreed. An abstraction of colors vs an image of the moon.