What are the odds of a going out to shoot sunrise and coming back with a full moon near the horizon basked in the soft warm glow of dawns early light? If you leave it to chance the odds are slim to none. However, on August 24th the odds are excellent since that is when all the key elements come into play. The only variables are weather, which you can’t control and selection of a good location, which you can.
On August 24th there is a full moon with moonset at sunrise - plus or minus about 30 minutes depending on your location. The way to plan for this shoot is...1) consult tables to determine exact times of sunrise and moonset/moonrise 2) find a landscape location with a good western vantage point - the moon will be around 260 degrees - you can find more info on the moons position here 3) Make sure your landscape does not have tall mountains or other obstructions between you and the horizon else the subject of this capture will be obscured when the light is perfect. 4) If possible, shoot from the top of a high peak. The reason for this is that you might be able to get two great captures for the price of one by swinging around about 180 degrees and by also shooting sunrise. I did this two years ago in Acadia National Park by parking on a hairpin curve near the top of Cadillac Mountain and running back and forth to shooting both - the moonshot at dusk pictured above and sunrise shown here. 5) If the color is good and you want to preserve it then consider using a white balance setting of Sunlight. This will NOT add a color cast and may offer a nice cool - warm transition of color if you are lucky enough to have this. 6) Bracket your exposures. This is an insurance policy so you don’t blow out the detail of the full moon. If there is a big exposure difference and you are a photoshop user, then layer the best exposure of the moon over the best exposure for the landscape. Next, using layer masks, selection tools, and brushes, selectively brush in the proper exposure for the full moon. Grad-ND filters may not be the best choice since the sky is about 180 degrees away from were the sun will rise so the exposure range of the sky should be workable, especially if the moon is very close to the horizon. There is no fixed rule here since conditions vary and your image editor may not allow for layering so it is up to you to decide which method will work best but bracketing is always a safe bet. 7) If possible, make your composition a long long lens extraction instead of going wide. The reason for this is the subject will be the full moon at moonset in dawn light. A long lens means a bigger moon, and since the subject is the moon try to make it prominent by using the longest focal length that works - the moon above was captured at 200mm on a Nikon D300.
The best planning is not a guarantee of success since weather is the wildcard. As such it is a gamble to take a big trip to the perfect location for this shot but a good idea to plan a trip around this or similar future events. Ideally, you will know a good place on your drive to work and still make it to the office in time. Many of my trips and captures are planned around certain key events like this - which of course also work at sunset when the full moon is near the horizon. I often plan sunrise and sunset shots at a time and place calculated for when the sun will be the ideal position to balance the composition. Also, I have planned sunrise shots at the rocky shores of Acadia to coincide with high tides coming in to get the warm light and long shutter speeds like this one. My point is that as one grows as a photographer you make your own luck by scouting locations and researching sun, moon or tide tables, and planning to be in the right place, at the right time to make the picture in your head be recorded with your camera. Good luck and if this doesn’t work out do your homework to determine the next opportuntiy. The shot above was my third attempt at a full moon around dawn. But the first time when the weather cooperated. Happy shooting!!!