Chasing the Moon Real Edinburgh

This was the shot that started it all, a chance encounter with a few day old crescent Moon that coincided with a sunset on Calton Hill testing my first BIG ZOOM lens. A picture that led to an obsession with our closest celestial neighbour...
It was this night I had the eureka moment that sparked the desire to catch the moon with Edinburgh as it's foreground. The obsession with the Moon wasn't new by any means, a scroll through my Flickr account shows thousands of Moon pics before this was taken but they were all just of the Moon, not in any context.
A Moon rise is an incredible thing to see, something everybody should experience at least once. When that big wobbly orange disc peeks up over the horizon it's a magical moment no matter where you see if from, this is the view from the Arthur's Seat top road looking down over Midlothian.
Moon rise over Arthur's Seat and Soutra wind farm

The problem is, once you've done one Moon rise, you'll want to see more! The trick with this stuff is only to try and capture these shots as the Moon rises or sets, at all other times, it's too high and usually too bright. The atmospherics layer dulls the Moon's brightness and makes photography possible, add a big zoom lens into the mix and you can create some truly surreal images.

Moon setting along Princes Street / Twilight Moon set from Silverknowes / 1 day old Moon from Longniddry / Moon set over Cramond

A setting Moon is the best time to capture a crescent, a rising Moon is the best time to capture a full Moon. Did you know, a full Moon always rises around sunset, good news for photographers as we can catch the sunset to the West and flip 180 degrees for the appearance of the Moon after the sun sets, one of natures little conveniences!

Of course, shots like these don't just happen, well that's not true, you can be lucky but these shots were planned for weeks in advance, apps to figure out where the Moon will set and where best to see it from were consulted, weather forecasts followed and since this was on Christmas Day 2014, alcohol was shunned and I'm glad I did, as the inset pic above won me the Scottish Landscape Photographer of the Year - Urban category and both were shortlisted in the Astro Photographer of the Year.

This picture more than any shows how much planning can pay off. The Moon here is little more than a day old and wasn't visible to the naked eye but having some knowledge of where it would be and when, meant scanning the horizon through a 600mm lens payed off big time and a unique shot was captured.

Calton Hill is always a favourite location for Moon pics as there is so much to capture the Moon with, or in this case, just enhancing yet another perfect Edinburgh sunset.

Moon set from Calton Hill

Our wee Castle is always a favourite to capture the Moon alongside

Moon setting behind Edinburgh Castle

But Inverleith Park is fast becoming a hot spot for the rising full Moon. In fact, if you are nippy, you can catch the Moon over the horizon from Arthur's Seat then making a swift exit, get to Inverleith in time for it appearing over the buildings of the city.

Moon captures from Inverleith Park

And we mustn't forget the Forth Bridges...

Moon set at the Queensferry Crossing / Moon rise under the Forth Bridge

And it's not just all famous landmarks either, there's a lot to be said for catching moving objects in front of the Moon as well. I hate to think of the amount of hours I've wasted with a huge lens following flights on Flightradar 24 to see if I can capture aircraft in front of the Moon. It's a frustrating experience as they continually go above or below but now and again, it'll pay off!

Thanks for reading, keep watching that Moon and I'd love to hear and feedback you might have! for prints and canvas of any of the shots above! for the Facebook page

Or email me,


All pictures copyright Real Edinburgh,

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