The Moonset on Naples Beach

Here in Naples, Florida, I noticed a beautiful crescent moon, and I began to wonder if it would be setting over the Gulf of Mexico at a good time for a photograph. I looked up the time and location of the moon set on my software “The Photographer’s Ephemeris.”  The moon would be waxing larger at 24.6% on August 12, and it would be setting over the Gulf at 11:39pm, when the sky should be quite dark — well beyond astronomical twilight.  The only variable would be the clouds.

Around 10:30pm, I drove down Vanderbilt Beach Road to the beach with my helpers Courtney and Scott. The moon was mostly cloud free until the last 15 minutes, so we were wise to come early. It was warm and not at all windy. Lightening occasionally flashed far in the distance. Another family had gathered to watch the meteor shower.

I tested out two camera settings:  First, I used the settings suggested by Don Smith: ISO 400, 70 mm lens, f 11 for 6 seconds:

The moon was crisp and cast a lovely golden shadow on the water.

Here is the image I captured with ISO 3200, 70mm, f 8 for 1 second. I wanted to try a faster shutter speed to see if the ripples in the water would be sharper. You can see a small cloud had entered the scene around the moon.

Behind my back during this hour of night photography, an impromptu  beach festival was going on. Courtney and Scott encouraged me to photograph that scene as well. Check the next blog post for those surprising photos!

Author: cathykellyphotography

Independent photographer based in Pittsburgh PA and Naples FL. Nature, landscape and portrait photography. Portfolio includes international work in USA, Europe, Asia, Australia and New Zealand. Email to review work in your area of interest. Nature portfolio includes flowers and wildlife. Prints and digital files for sale. See website:

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