On shooting the moon

Resizing the depiction of the moon (or anything else) within a photograph, by any method, always disqualifies the resulting photograph from TCQ.

It’s one of the most common resizing examples performed within photographs.

Anyone who has looked at many travel photos (or travel postcards) has seen them, for almost every tourist destination in the world: a photograph of an enormous moon hovering over a dusk or night cityscape or landscape.

Even though a photograph records the moon as pretty much the same size wherever it is in the sky, when viewed “in person” the moon appears much larger to the human eye when the moon is near the horizon than it appears when it is overhead.

Generations of photographers have been frustrated by the discrepancy caused by this optical illusion, by the difference between “what I know I saw” and “what the camera rendered.”

Making matters worse, most cityscapes and landscapes are photographed with a wide-angle lens, and the more wide-angle the lens used to take a photograph, the smaller the moon will appear in the photograph.

Those frustrated photographers often substitute a larger moon for what the camera rendered in a single exposure, whether they perform the substitution in the darkroom, on the computer, or via a double-exposure in camera.

To the viewer (and to TCQ), the “tools” or method used to resize the moon don’t matter: the moon as depicted in the final version of a photograph either does remain the same size relative to the rest of the scene that the camera recorded or it does not remain the same relative size.

No photograph with a resized or inserted moon can ever qualify for the “Guaranteed TCQ” label.

It would fail to meet both Q2 and Q7.

But note that not all depictions of a large moon are non-TCQ.

It is not difficult to get a close-up, even a frame-filling, depiction of the moon by using a long-focal-length (narrow field-of-view) lens.

One key to assessing “large-moon” photographs is scrutinizing what else is in the frame.

• If the non-moon items in a large-moon photograph look far away and the field of view is very narrow, the moon may not have been upsized.

• But if a large-moon photograph’s overall field of view looks “normal” — and especially if it looks “wide-angle” — then most advanced photographers would assume that the moon has been upsized in the photo.