Shooting images by moonlight!


I recently spent 3 hours exploring the entrance to Poole Harbour in the county of Dorset on the south coastline of England.

The difference on this morning to my typical schedule was I arrived at the entrance one and a half hours before sunrise as I couldn’t sleep!

It could well have been because I had spent the previous evening looking at images taken by other photographers who liked taking images during the night, so my sub conscious must have thought that this is what I also wanted to do! Anyway, I took it more of a challenge to see what I could achieve on this morning.

I was quite fortunate as it turned out to have a very bright moon casting a gorgeous ethereal light through the predawn mist that wafted over the landscape.

I spent quite a bit of time trying to first of all see the ferry structures and figure out the best way to compose them, before worrying about the technical aspects of actually capturing the images. Luckily all these different locations were about 600 yards apart! See map...

Images 1-5 were taken by moonlight only of an adjacent small wooden jetty that tourist boats use to ferry people over to Brownsea island  (The home of scouting), which is about 800 yards away.

 Image #1 was the image I really wanted to get but it did involve me going down a small ladder onto an area close to the water to get this angle. I think that this composition is quite a strong one and was well worth the effort of going down the ladder onto a slippery area in the dark!

Image #1

Image #2

Image #3

Image #4

Image #5


Images 6&7 were just 100 yards away past the entrance. As I walked along a wall to get around, I was totally amazed that the tide here was quite far out. I come to this area quite often and I’ve never seen a sandy beach here before, so I was quite excited on what new compositions I could find.

Image #6

I’m really pleased with the way that the lines and textures in the sand play such a pivotal role in making these 2 compositions come alive. The sun by now still hadn’t risen but a glow was beginning to rise on the horizon.

Image #7


Images 8-12 were taken on my return back to the ferry slipway with sunrise light bathing the landscape.

Image #8

Image #9

Images #10-12


Image 13 is of one of the two chains used by the ferry to pull itself across the entrance. The ferry starts operating from 7am so as it was still only 6am it was anchored over on the other side at Studland.


Images 14-16 were taken directly over on Studland when I took the first ferry of the day over to the other side.

I think Covid restrictions have made me think far more about compositions and how to better ‘seek’ them out. Some of these images in the past I just wouldn’t have taken as I would probably be rushing onto another place to shoot.

I was really pleased with my few hours out in the landscape and I would be very interested to hear what you think. email me

It’s great being a photographer... isn’t it??

All the best, ROY