on landscape The online magazine for landscape photographers

The History of Moonlight

There may be trouble ahead…

David Clapp

David Clapp

Non-award winning landscape, travel, architectural photographer and writer based in South Devon.

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Let me start this article by taking you back to 2005 when I first bought my original Canon 5D. Standing on the streets of rainy 'Bristol Cameras' in Clifton, I took a deep breath walked inside. I nervously and apprehensively put my debit card into the machine and spent more than I’ve ever spent on something I thought I’d never do. My other half Rachel turned to me, handed me the box and said, “do something with it” and I nodded back, grinning in agreement. She was a primary investor, a silent partner, but I don’t think she realised what this investment was about to do.

I’ve always had an interest in astronomy. From those magic moments growing up realising that the end of the garden is not the edge of the universe, to where we are now – scanning distant stars for other solar systems and exoplanets. I have never understood anybody who seems disinterested in the night sky and this fascination to photograph it began on Dartmoor, right at the start of my love for photography. I remember looking at a stock library and seeing a photograph of a granite outcrop with stars above, shot on film.

moonlight_dartmoor_houndtor_moonlight_02a

There’s plenty of granite near where I live, my camera is state of the art, so one rather seminal evening I plucked up the courage to drive my 1960 Morris Minor to Dartmoor. It was Radio 2 with Nat King Cole and Rachel who advised me that ‘There may be trouble ahead…’. I nervously lock the car door and headed round the back of Hound Tor. It was only a 500m sprint to the car to outrun my imagined axe-wielding maniac; this seemed like fair odds me. Thankfully it was an evening that changed my photographic life. 



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  • David that is one great article. Thank you.

  • Excellent article, I’ve really struggled with night time exposures. I’m really keen to get back out again now.

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