The Art of Night – The Photography of Mark Gee

Full Moon Silhouettes

Full Moon Silhouettes is something that I’ve been wanting to capture for a over a year now. The video is a real time capture of the moon rising over the Mount Victoria Lookout in the capital city of Wellington, New Zealand. On the evening of the 28th January 2013, after a lot of planning and many failed attempts, I finally managed to pull it off.

There were numerous factors I had to consider and get right to capture the footage. The weather, moon phases and  finding a suitable location where I could actually get the moon rising directly over the lookout. Finally it all came together – I found the perfect location, and the weather in Wellington was amazing! Luckily there were people watching the moon rise from the Mount Victoria Lookout. I didn’t know what to expect with the performance of everyone up there, but I couldn’t have directed it better myself, even though they had no idea I was filming them. I shot 8 minutes of footage between 9.14pm and 9.22pm and the finished edit shows about the first 3 minutes of that.

Technically, getting the shot was quite difficult. I was 2.1km away from my subject, and there was no room for error. I only had one chance of getting the shot right on the night. Thankfully it all came together, and what I ended up with was this wonderful performance of total strangers silhouetted against the full moon as it rose above the lookout.

This image was taken almost a month after I shot Full Moon Silhouettes. I was a similar distance away from the lookout as I was when I shot Full Moon Silhouettes and it shows a similar framing of the original shot.

This image was taken almost a month after I originally shot Full Moon Silhouettes. I was a similar distance (2.1km) away from the same lookout and it shows a similar framing of the original video footage.

Technical details – The footage was shot with a Canon 1D MkIV in video mode, with a Canon EF 500mm f/4 lens and a Canon 2x Extender, giving me the equivalent of a 1300mm focal length when taking into account Canon 1D MkIV’s 1.3x crop factor with the APS-H sensor. The camera was mounted on a Sachtler tripod with a Sachtler FSB 6 head.

Music – I’ve also had a lot of comment on the music I’ve used. The music is a royalty free track which I licensed for this short. It’s Tenderness by Dan Phillipson, and you can find it here:

So is it real? – I’ve had some wonderful and amazing comments and support, but as expected you do get your skeptics that say this is a fake. I assure you this was shot all in camera and not fake – I guess that’s the biggest compliment of all!

So how is the moon so big and people so small?  – Well it’s all about optics and distance from the subject. I shot this video on a DLSR camera with a super telephoto lens, so it’s just like looking at the moon with binoculars or through a small telescope.  The people in front of the moon are small in comparison because I was 2.1kms away from them. I couldn’t see them with my own eyes as they were so far away, but when looking through the camera, they look exactly as they are in the film. If I was to move closer to the subjects, say only 1km away, they would have looked twice as big. The moon would have still been the same size in frame, but because the people look larger and you can use them as a point of scale reference, then the moon would have looked smaller in scale, even though it’s not. It’s the same concept as in the ‘moon illusion’

This image was taken a month after I shot Full Moon Silhouettes, but it gives you an idea of what the moon looked like through the viewfinder and to the naked eye off in the distance.

This image was taken almost a month after I shot Full Moon Silhouettes, but it gives you an idea of what the moon looked like through the viewfinder and to the naked eye off in the distance.

Hang on a minute…the moon is upside down and rising in the wrong direction? – Well to us in the Southern Hemisphere, this is exactly what we see when we watch a moon rise. But if you happen to live in the Northern Hemisphere, the moon in the film will look upside down and rising to the left, rather than rising to the right. This link explains it a little better:

Has the rising of the moon been sped up? – I can certainly explain the optical aspects of the shot and why the moon appears so big, but I’ve also had comments that the moon is moving way to quick to be real…well this is real time and hasn’t been sped up at all, but apart from my simple reply of you guys should go watch the moon rise sometime – astronomer, lecturer, and author, Phil Plait the creator of the Bad Astronomy website, has a pretty solid scientific explanation of how fast the moon is moving in Full Moon Silhouettes. Go check out his blog about my video on the Bad Astronomy website.

Why does the moon look soft and out of focus? – The moon is actually in focus, as the focus on the lens was set to infinity, but looks soft due to the effect of atmospheric refraction – you can see the edges and the details on the moon shimmer as it’s rising. Once the moon gets higher in the sky, the details become sharper due to the lesser influence of atmospheric refraction. In fact, I shot a photo of the moon a little later that night. It was much higher in the sky, and I used the exact same focus settings as I shot the film with, and the details on the moon were tack sharp. This is why if you want a really sharp image of the moon, you should shoot it when it’s higher in the sky.

Watch the film below, and feel free to share and leave comments further down the page. Maybe one of these silhouetted strangers will even recognise themselves!


Full Moon Silhouettes from Mark Gee on Vimeo.

Hope you enjoyed the original Full Moon Silhouettes – in April 2015, I was joined by Japan TV who came to New Zealand to follow on a shoot to re-create my 2013 Full Moon Silhouettes. There was certainly a lot of nerves as I attempted to pull off the shoot in front of the cameras – you can watch what happened in this video below.

422 Responses to “Full Moon Silhouettes”

  1. That is really beautiful Mark. Quite remarkable.

    • markg says:

      Thanks Alastair – I really appreciate the comment.

      • Warren P. Reiss says:

        Stunning. I believe you are in the process of going viral. Congrats.

        • Rick says:

          It is an awesome piece of footage, well done Mark. and I must agree with Warren, you are well on your way to going viral now! Top job!

      • Whitney says:

        Unbelievable Beauty! Stellar Wow. No comments on the planet in the background?

      • Bill Volna says:

        Hello Mark,

        Just jumping on the bandwagon with compliments to you on your beautiful video. It reminded me of the picture of an analemma made by Dennis di Ciccoin 1978/79 published in Sky/Telescope magazine. Both required lots of planning.

        Been to Wellington a few times in 1993/95 passing through on way to Spole. You have a beautiful, pristine country. Keep taking good care of it. I’d pack in a minute if I could go there again.


        Bill Volna

      • Jess says:

        You captured God arrayed in His Full Glory. Many thanks for sharing

      • tommy nikon says:


        I believe you dude! Gr8 shot mate. If you think ill-informed comments about the moon- and your capture, is bad…try shooting UFO’s and dealing with the “instant experts”. Yikes.

        Over the skies of Seattle the past three summers. From my studio window.

        Toolage: Nikon D2x w/ 500mm F/8= 750mm focal length and about a 3degree viewpoint. Rig mounted on ballhead/Super Clamp+Auto-Pole, triggered via Yongnuo wireless. Mirror lock-up to negate camera shake/motion….rendering ALL motion incurred to the objects photographed. THEM.

        • markg says:

          Pretty impressive Tommy – I’ve never seen such a collection of UFO pictures such as yours. I believe it’s pretty naive to think we are the only ones out there considering just how mammoth space is!

  2. Hannah says:

    This is beautiful, I have watched it about 5 times already. So stunning. I wondered if you could tell me where the music came from? I want to buy the song!!

  3. Dave Lewthwaite says:

    Mark, that is truly outstanding. I hate to think how much work it took lining that up and getting the timing right…

    Thank you. 🙂

  4. Annwyn Tobin says:

    Wow Mark, you’ve created something very special there. It brought tears to my eyes to see the moon rise like that. It gave a sense of how little us humans are in the universe. I know how hard you work to get such a lovely body of work. Congrats!

  5. Dee Lewis says:

    Just happened upon this, it’s so beautiful that I hope you don’t mind I shared it on twitter and fb….(:

  6. Wow! From one photographer/videographer to another… this is a seriously cool video!!!!

    • markg says:

      Thanks Brady – your comment is much appreciated!!

      • Tricia says:

        Call me crazy, but I witness this tonight, January 30, between 9pm and 10pm. I was in such amazement I just kept repeating “Oh my God, I never seen anything like this.” The only difference is was that after this huge image rose up as if out of the ground half way it vanished and I only saw bright lights as if sparkling until fading. My husband suggested, “You probably saw the moon.” I ask, “So big, how”. Could it be?

        From the U.S.A of Maryland

  7. Uyen says:

    Hi Mark,

    I found this video first on Astronomy picture of the day looking for wonder and inspiration this morning and there was nothing loaded. I try for the second time and I am blown away by your moonrise capture. Sheer bliss does not quite describe how I feel watching it. It also took my back to last year when I saw the moon rise from the Temple of the Moon in Cusco, Peru. Pretty astounding watching it live, too. Thank you.

  8. Uyen says:

    I hope you don’t mind that I share it with my friends on FB…

  9. Julia Alexander says:

    I just want to thank you for that gorgeous video.

  10. Rohan says:

    As an amateur photographer and amateur stargazer all I can say is “Wow! Respect.”
    Also, it seems you’ve hit the big time. 🙂
    Amazing work, congratulations.

  11. God damn, that is the essence of heveanly bodies in motion and humanity admiring the beauty of our universe. ….I am an Athiest, yes I am….. god damn I am, Christian Mann….yes I am.

  12. Francois says:

    Hi Mark, this post is sad so I am sorry, but I needed to tell you that – after coming back from a funeral today in Auckland to say a last goodbye to a good friend of mine – your video makes me drop the tears I didn’t want to show in front of others. Thank you for showing the beauty of a natural world and of a loving human one together.

    • markg says:

      Hi Francois – no I am so glad you posted this comment. It is very touching and I am so sorry for your loss. It means a lot to me that my work has touched you in this way. Take care, Mark.

  13. Scot Goodman says:

    I hear the Music of the Spheres.

  14. Alberto says:

    Thanks Mark, the video is beautiful and poetic. Seeing from the northern hemisphere (I’m from Italy), the moon moves from right to left is still more like a dream.

  15. karl says:

    omg most beautiful i have ever seen.. i live in sweden so we only can film those “boring” northern lights haha but this is sick =)

  16. Sonja says:

    Thanks for sharing these beautiful images, it really took my breath away and made me fall in love with this world (again). It made my day. Thanks a lot.

  17. Philip says:

    Hey, amazing video. I was actually there on top this night when you was filming it.
    I’ve been trying to work out where u was and how you managed to make the moon so big.
    The moon wasn’t that big up there, was actually very small. Please tell me how you managed to do this

    • markg says:

      Wow – that’s fantastic Philip, where you in the video? Yes your right. Though human eyes the moon doesn’t look that big. It’s all about optics and how far away from the subject you are. I was 2.1km away from the lookout shooting with the equivalent of a 1300mm focal length. That made the moon large in frame, and I was far enough away for the people (including you) on the lookout to be small in frame.

      • Philip says:

        Thanks for the reply, I am in the video as I also watched the moon come up. Hard to tell which one i am.
        Were you on a building or something to be that far away and get that angle?

        • markg says:

          Fantastic Philip – be interesting to know if you remember some of the other people up there like the backpacker and little kid running around. I was in a park across the other side of the city. This google map shows you exactly where:

          • Philip says:

            Yes I remember the backpacker, young guy, his face just looked mesmerised watching the moon. Stood still for a few mins, with his world on his shoulders.

            3 young girls ran to the top. They tried to balance their camera on the rock. So I did the descent thing and went over to take the pic. This was just before the moon rise.

            I’ve watched it again, I was with my friend who was wearing a cap, if you look in the centre, there are 2 people stood still. that’s my self to the left of my friend, who can just work out the peak to his hat. My self is from Wales and he is from the states. Both travellers.

          • markg says:

            Fantastic! I see you and your friend come into silhouette around 1.44 in the film. I’m so glad someone has seen themselves in this film. Makes it just so much better for me. I hope you’re telling everyone!! I think you deserve a high quality downloadable version of the film to keep. Just send me an email and I’ll send you the download info.

  18. pederm says:

    Wouldn´t it be great, to fix the moon in this slideshow – say, at the center of screen? One could get a wonderful feeling of the earth rotating.

    (I must apologize for my poor english, long time since I´ve learned english at school)

  19. Bob S says:


    Saw this on the Astronomy Photo of the Day this morning. What a great idea and perfect execution.

    I have one question… At that long focal length how did you eliminate even the slightest camera shake? Did you set it on a rock with liberal use of sandbags to hold it in place?

    • markg says:

      Hi Bob, I was actually surprised how stable the footage was at that focal length. When I first hit the record button, I got a couple of seconds of camera shake, but then it settled. I was on a flat grassed park, and there was not a breath of wind. I was so expecting to have to stabilise the footage, but thankfully I didn’t have to. The tripod I was using is a professional grade Sachtler tripod, so it’s quite solid. I do usually weigh it down with my camera bag, but that’s usually on the windier days.

  20. Youssef says:

    Wow, this is an amazing piece of art. Thanks for creating and sharing this magnificent oeuvre. Greets from Belgium!

  21. Even down here in Brussels very much enjoyed and appreciated.
    Keep up the good works Mark.
    It made me go back to my four months stay in New-Zealand, long time ago.

    Met hoedgekruide groeten,


    Brussels (Belgium) – January 30, 2013

  22. Ief says:

    Really beautiful video, it’s even on the Belgian newssites 😉 Great music also by Dan Phillipson, but most of the credits go to you!

  23. DarrenT says:

    Stunning capture, truly breathtaking.
    Well done.


  24. koaalar says:

    Brilliant. DLR ( german aerospace center ) tweeted this and im more than happy that i followed the link 😀

    Made my day.

  25. Lionel says:


    Your work is remarkable i though have one question: how come the moon is so big! I’m leaving in Belgium and even we are able to see it it’s never that big.

    Do you have any explanation for this?

    Thanks a lot!


    • markg says:

      Thanks for the comment Lionel. Yes your right, though human eyes the moon doesn’t look that big. It’s all about optics and how far away from the subject you are. I was 2.1km away from the lookout shooting with the equivalent of a 1300mm focal length. That made the moon large in frame, and I was far enough away for the people on the lookout for them to be small in frame. Hope that explains things a little better.

  26. Brian Powell says:

    hey, really great imagery and obviously you had some vision to pull this off 🙂

    I’ve never shot anything past 300mm so I’m not sure how possible it would be, but could you set focus to infinity and get the moon sharp instead of the people?

    • markg says:

      Hi Brian, Yes the focus on my lens was set manually to infinity. The moon looks soft and out of focus as it’s rising, but it’s actually not. The softness is the result of atmospheric refraction – you can see the edges also shimmer as it’s rising. I shot 8 minutes of footage, and the higher the moon got, the sharper it got too. That why if I want a really sharp detailed photo of the moon, I’ll only photograph it an hour or so after moonrise when it’s higher in the sky.

  27. Henry Finch says:

    wonderful video. My browser opens to the incredible photography of APOD every day (Astronomy Picture Of the Day). Some days are incredible and others doubly incredible. Today is the double+ variety. I’m curious about some of the technical details of the shot. You must have a very heavy tripod. I noticed no shake. Did you crop the video? What ISO setting do you use? etc.

    • markg says:

      Thanks for the comment Henry. The tripod I was using is a professional grade Sachtler tripod, and fortunately for me there was not a breath of wind and I was in a park so it was flat, there was a few seconds of camera shake when I first hit the record button, but other than that it was rock solid. No, I didn’t crop the video, it’s as it was shot. And the ISO was set at 500, aperture f/9.0

  28. gsd says:


  29. Erik says:

    Thanks Mark,

    Wow, You showed us something that was very important for centuries
    The moon coming up ad going down

    It’s always nice to be remembered that all mankind is living on a stone ball form 12 700 km in diameter floating in the cold space with a satelite just 385000 km away from us
    very nice shooting you brought something back that most of us already forgot

    Erik Brussels Belgium

  30. irana says:

    I was mesmerized. Your video is magnificent. And how you managed to deliver this beauty of the nature, speechless.
    Thank you for sharing your piece of work with the world, Mark 🙂

  31. Mike says:

    Wow, great video. So simple and yet made me think of so many things – memories, families, taking care of the planet.. Beautifully done!

    Mike (from Calgary, Alberta)

  32. Kimc says:

    Congratulations on finally being rewarded for your efforts! This is quite simply breathtaking.

  33. Fran says:

    Magical, beautiful, wondrous, Mark. I hadn’t realized the moon would appear to move right to left in the southern hemisphere. Thank you so much for sharing this special moment.

    • lvh says:

      …and, first thing I noticed watching the moon in the south is that it is “upside down” too! Makes perfect sense, I but had never considered it before.

      Mark– Great stuff. Next time, moonrise from kiteboard?

  34. Susanna says:

    I feel like any comment I leave, will not measure up to the true value I see in this breathtaking video. Humbling-all of it.

  35. Ellen says:

    That is one of the most awe-inspiring videos I’ve ever seen. It actually brought tears to my eyes. Thank you!

  36. david says:

    well done mark!!! it was kind of “magical” to see the video! it’s been 2 years ago that I was in new-zealand, and you gave me the same warm feeling that I had when I was there… I know that you need to have a lot of patience to make pictures of the moon, but it’s always worth.

    keep up the good work, and enjoy n-z


  37. Tom Piessens says:

    I’m speechless… Really impressive image and the music fits wonderfully well with the video.

  38. […] & Kunz twittern, man solle dieses Video gucken – also bitte: Mondaufgang in Echtzeit hinter anderen Beobachtern desselben in Neuseeland. Weshalb der Mond auch “falsch herum” läuft. [19:30 […]

  39. Marty says:

    Hi Mark,

    We’re here in San Diego…I recently downloaded this app for my iPhone to track the International Space Station, and this morning my wife and I got up at 6:00 am to watch it soar overhead…brilliant and bright!…and then…your special work of art to bracket the day in a most beautiful way…THANK YOU so much for contributing to our day of wonder and gratitude!…

    Marty Eldridge

  40. Dwayne says:

    A magic moment. Thank you.

  41. Bemacks says:

    Simply MAGICAL!
    Thank you for sharing this fantastic video!

  42. Arnold says:

    It certainly all came well together. Very nicely done, congratulations.

    Kind regards from Ghent, Belgium.

  43. Jennifer says:

    Simply, stunningly, beautiful. Well done.

  44. catherine says:

    Hy Marc ! What an amazing film ! I see you have a lot of belgian fans. haha,
    The moon was verry beautifull here too ! There was a large cirkel of light around her…I sended sms to many friends…’Go outsite now and look at nature’s beauty’ i was so impressed !!! Thanks for your work, it is really touching.

  45. adrien huang says:

    completely amazing

    the concept was performed very well, great job.

    did you find the spot by chance to shoot and then waited for the opportunity? or did you calculate the moons position?

    seems very difficult to line the moon up to a position where you can see a lookout at the right vantage point. good scouting

    would love to try this myself if you have any advice on positioning, finding locations and stuff

    if youre ever in the bay area, let me know, and maybe we can go shooting!

    • markg says:

      Hi Adrien, yes I calculated the moon’s position. Even then it’s still a bit of a gamble. Even just being a meter or two out at that distance from your subject, you could totally miss the shot. That is exactly what happened to me the night before…

      As for advice on finding your locations – The Photographer’s Ephemeris is your friend.

      Sure if I’m ever in the bay area, I’ll look you up.

  46. Someone from Europe says:

    Oh man, this is so beautiful…..

  47. MIke B says:

    If I could image something 1/10th as good as this video, I would be thrilled. Fantastic video.

  48. Bart says:

    You shot an amazing video! It’s so beautiful….

  49. Yves says:

    Stunning! Just got an email from my wife who found your picture in the online paper back in Belgium. Coincidentally, I’m here in Wellington for a two-week business trip and sure noticed the impressive full(ish) moon last couple of days. Amazing footage, very nice!

  50. laurentphil says:

    A very very very nice shoot, Congratulations from a Parisian fan

  51. HJKeats says:

    Awesome video, seen it on APOD today, Shared it with a some people so they could enjoy it also. The music was fantastic also, I looked for it on iTunes today and could not find that piece, any ideas where I might get a copy?

    Newfoundland, Canada

  52. Jim says:

    Hey Marc,

    You do beautiful work. This is a great video, but I was wondering why there is a person in the video who appears to be panning their phone/camera all around as if it were daytime and they were recording video? No disrespect intended here, its just that I have seen so much misinformation on the web I have become very carefull when evaluating the veracity of what I see online. Keep up the excellent work!


    • markg says:

      Hi Jim, and to try and answer your question with my explanation anyway. The Mount Victoria Lookout is right above the city center of New Zealand’s capital city Wellington. From the lookout you have a 360 degree view of Wellington city and the surrounding suburbs below. You can easily film video with a phone/camera of the lights of the city at night (I’ve done that myself) so perhaps that’s what he was doing. Here’s a timelapse (not mine) of a view of the city from the lookout at night:

  53. […] dua malam yang lalu di atas anjungan Gunung Victoria di Wellington, Selandia Baru. Dengan perencanaan yang detil, seorang astrofotografer menempatkan sebuah kamera pada jarak sekitar dua kilometer dan mengarah […]

  54. Tobi says:

    Golden, Mark; simply golden. Thank you for sharing your beautiful work. I, too, found it on the Astronomy Photo of the Day page. What a gift.

  55. Doug Butler says:

    Hello from Canada!
    Thanks, Mark, for a nice unwind at the end of a busy day.

  56. Thank you for making it. Thank you for sharing it. Beautiful and inspiring.

  57. W.Ruffis says:

    It is just stunning……. Thank you Mark.

  58. Pam Johnson says:

    I cannot begin to tell you the emotional impact that Full Moon video has had on me. It is stunning.. amazing.. beautiful beyond superlatives.

    I came to it from the APOD and I will hold it in my heart for a lifetime.

    It is something very special you have created there. Thankyou is such a small word.. but THANKYOU !

    • markg says:

      Thanks for the comment Pam – it’s amazing for me to hear these kinds of comments. At the time of capturing this footage, never in a million years did I think it would be so touching to so many people from around the world 🙂

      • Pam Johnson says:

        It was by its old names known as the Moon after Yule or the Old or Quiet or Ice Moon.

        I try to take photos of all the Full Moons I can.. and pagan to my core (lol) the Moon is very much my special thing.

        An amateur astronomer and dreamer !

        Thankyou again and I now have your website firmly anchored to my Favourites .Your astrophotography is stunning and I also collect lighthouses and that print is calling me !

  59. Richard Mittleman says:

    The people in the foreground added immensely to this. Wonderful job.

  60. Ken Denmead says:

    Absolutely stunning. Reminds me of a scene from the movie “Joe Versus the Volcano” with Tom Hanks where he watches the moon rise from a raft in the ocean. In the movie, it was a fantastical moment, but you’ve recreated that magic is reality. Cheers on your skill, hard work, and luck in getting this just right!

  61. rcn says:

    I live on the West Coast and my parents are on the East Coast of the U.S. Today we talked about the beauty of the full moon they observed over the Atlantic earlier this week. I am gladly sharing your stunning video with them. Thank you for capturing such brilliance.

  62. Eric Dahlstrom says:

    This is a wonderful video! I just showed this to my wife – and set the scene with a short video we made on Mt. Victoria back in November. (The day of the Hobbit premiere, we were looking over the crowd at the red carpet.)

    I am very impressed with your ability to predict the location of the Moonrise, and getting that direction lined up with the Mt. Victoria lookout.

    I was just looking at Wellington in Google Earth and wondering where you set up to get this shot. (Oh! I see you linked to a diagram in Google Maps! Cool!)

    I look forward to seeing more of your projects.

    Unfortunately, my wife won’t let me buy that lens for $10k.. yet. 🙂
    – Eric (in California)

    • markg says:

      Very nice Eric, I would have been looking back up towards you guys on Mount Victoria that day as I was amongst The Hobbit madness!

      Glad you found my link to Google Maps, it was an interesting exercise just plotting how far away I was from the subjects.

      Yes, you’re wife probably knows that if she buys you that 500mm lens, you’ll still get lens envy and will then want the 800mm! 🙂

  63. Eric Jans says:


    I think I just felt the earth spin.


  64. Are we human, or are we dancers?

  65. Elisabeth says:

    How Beautiful! Thank you so much and congratulations for your hard work!
    Elisabeth – Belgium

  66. Congratulations to this wonderful shot!
    Absolutely stunning! Like previous speakers: I can feel how the earth rotates…

    May I show this video to pupils and students in our planetarium?

    • markg says:

      Hi Thomas – thank you for the comment! And yes, please do show this video to pupils and students in your planetarium, if they gain only the smallest benefit out of watching this, then I will be very humbled! Let me know how it goes…

  67. Gie janssens says:

    This is unbelievable beautiful!
    Wish I would have been there.
    With great regards from an antipode from Flanders, Belgium.

  68. Dieneke van Eckeveld says:


    Genesis 1….( and over the night, and to divide the ligt from the darkness;)

  69. Daniel Maes says:

    Thanks for all the work and the frustrations you had to endure to get that wonderful result.
    Everybody should see this.

  70. […] […]

  71. Marjolein says:

    The combination of the film and the music gave me goosebumps. Absolutely breathtaking!

  72. JoeW says:

    Mark, What and amazing video! I came accross this video on the APOD website for Jan 30th. Being an amatuer astronomer, I can certainly appreciate what it took to bring everything together and make it work. Having the Lookout in the foreground was a clever idea. As you said, their actions probably couldn’t have been much better if they were scripted. The instrumental track really added to the emotional experience. I will have to find a copy. Keep up the great work.

    • markg says:

      Thanks Joe, yes it was an amazing experience seeing it all come together in real time, and I’m happy to be able to share the end result with everyone!

  73. […] each moonrise from my portfolio, but a great new video (h/t to APOD) posted by a videographer named Mark Gee wonderfully illustrates the speed of moonrise. He set up over a mile away from the Queen Victoria […]

  74. Jeff Miller says:

    Simply beyond awesome… and a much welcomed bright spot during an otherwise rather glum and challenging week. Thanks for pursuing, celebrating and sharing the wonders of our world.

  75. […] The story of making “Full Moon Silhouettes” on Mark Gee’s blog […]

  76. Jenny (from Belgium !) says:

    Dear Mark,

    This is amazing and also beautiful…
    Another proove that we “humans” are very very “small”…
    Regards from Brussels, Belgium

  77. […] […]

  78. Willians says:

    Hi Mark, you work it’s AMAZING, thanks for sharing this masterpiece.
    I just want to know which was the configuration of the camera to capture this moment, because if you focus the people, the moon can not be that size.

    • markg says:

      Thanks! I cover all the camera aspects in the blog, so have a read when you get a chance.

      Basically it’s all about optics and how far away from the subject you are. I was 2.1km away from the lookout shooting with the equivalent of a 1300mm focal length. That made the moon large in frame, and I was far enough away for the people on the lookout for them to be small in frame.

      I was shooting with the focus set at infinity, so at that distance both the people and the moon should be fairly in focus, and they are, but the moon looks soft due to atmospheric refraction – you can see the edges also shimmer as it’s rising. I shot 8 minutes of footage, and the higher the moon got, the sharper it got too.

      Hope this explanation helps 🙂

  79. TBell says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your completely awe-inspiring work with the world. Somehow it pulls me in and instead of watching the watchers, I’m there! It grounds me on this planet and so happy to be here!

  80. Johan Minne says:

    Hello Mark, I’v been looking at it now already for at least five times and everytime again I’m getting tears in my eyes. Really wonderful. So beautifull. Thank you for sharing this with everybody around the world. Amazing!!!

  81. zlatan says:

    Absolutely inspiring video! Works like that make me dream.
    Just wanted to say: thank you so much, Mark!

  82. Oktay says:


    God created the moon, you recorded it, and whole world is watching it. Thanks a lot for sharing .

    Regards from istanbul / Turkey

  83. David Van Buggenhout says:

    I cried! And that was a long time ago!

  84. iniobong says:

    Just watched it on CNN, it is fast forwarded and it looked very captivating then this website was mentioned. I quickly hunched over my lap top and what I found took away the uncomfortable silence between and my pregnant wife and I – We had a verbal fight this morning and we were not talking all day. You genius, we kissed and held on to each other, my wife still has tears in her eyes. YOU ROCK!

  85. JK Blackwell says:

    So beautiful – I can’t stop watching it over and over again!

  86. […] moonrise was imaged two nights ago overMount Victoria Lookout in Wellington, New Zealand. With detailed planning, an industrious astrophotographer placed a camera about two kilometers away and pointed it across […]

  87. Daniel says:

    Extraordinary and impressive, without words. You are awesome!

  88. anui says:

    Does the moon be this large often? Will it be like this every month’s full moon night? Or is it rare to see the beautiful one?

    I wish I could set my eyes on such beautiful moon for once in my life.

    • markg says:

      The moon is the same size when viewed throughout the world, it just depends on your vantage point. I’ve added to my blog to tell you how this moon looks so big.

  89. Mlo55 says:



  90. Graham says:

    Perfect, just
    Thank you so much.
    From Guildford, UK.

  91. Natalie says:

    Truly beautiful. And touching that you take time to reply to everyone.

    Brought tears to my eyes – the magnificience of creation, and joy of the human spirit.

    • markg says:

      I’ve been trying to reply to everyone Natalie, but have been falling behind with all the interest. Just catching up on things now 🙂 So glad you enjoyed the film.

  92. Phoebe says:

    Hi Mark! I’m stunned! The first think I thought was that I really want to project the video on my wall above my bed!!! I might also use one of your other pictures to fill my bedroom walls. Can’t stop staring at all of them!

  93. Paul says:

    What a stunning piece of amazing footage, Mark. I have watched it over and over. Now I want to go to Mount Victoria to see it for myself! Congratulations on this remarkable piece of work. Paul, UK.

  94. Dennyr says:

    Hi Mark, Greetings from the other side of the Southern Hemisphere – the southern tip of the African continent. I live right on the coast – literally – in Wilderness South Africa and we see these amazing moon rises, but never anything as beautiful and awe-inspiring as this. Its made my stressful week easier to bear. Thank you for sharing your genius with the rest of the world…. you are truly gifted in what you do.

    • markg says:

      Thank you for the comment! Wow the coast of South Africa. I’m seen some amazing images from there and hopefully I’ll get the chance to go there myself. Glad the film made your stressful week just that much easier.

  95. Tom says:

    Pure work of art, well done.

  96. Angela says:

    Congratulations Mark on a truly beautiful film. It was worth the wait to capture it. So beautiful it made me cry. Lovely choice of music too. I’ve just found the link to it in one of your replies above – thank you. Keep working.

    from Devon, UK

  97. […] letzte Woche der Mond voll war, konnte man ihn dort wunderbar beobachten. Genau das hat Fotograf Mark Gee gemacht. Er hat allerdings viel mehr getan, als einfach nur ein paar Bilder […]

  98. Julien says:

    J’aime beaucoup ce genre de composition terrestre.
    C’est vraiment un très beau film.
    Les silouhettes semblent accompagner le globe lunaire.
    J’ai presque cru que j’allais voir voler une bicyclette… !

    Avec la musique, cela donne une ambiance très poétique et reposante.
    Bravo pour cette belle prise.

    • markg says:

      La prochaine fois je pourrais trouver quelqu’un pour faire du vélo là-haut, mais alors il ne serait pas aussi poétique. Merci pour votre commentaire Julien 🙂

  99. Justin says:

    You know, I had thought of doing something similar to this, and here you are stealing my idea! 😛 The only difference being that what you did came out much more beautifully than mine could have! Really well composed, and just amazing having it capture those silhouettes perfectly. Truly inspiring! Thank you for sharing.

    • markg says:

      haha…Thanks Justin, yes there has been a few time people have beat me to my idea to, and probably did a better job than what I could have! I was blown away myself with the performance of those silhouettes which I can’t take credit for – I think that was the lucky part for me.

  100. Now that I would love to see in 4K on a big cinema screen. Ping me should you need advice on how to make a DCP. Hey, I’ll make it for you! Beautiful shot.

    • markg says:

      Funny you should mention that Wolfgang…well you gave me the idea and I have converted it for projection. Now I just have to find somewhere to project it that big!

      • Mark, is there any chance that you would share the package? I know it’s a lot to ask. But I don’t want to miss the remote chance that you might actually say “Yes” 🙂 Like they say: If you don’t ask the answer is always No. Or: If you don’t try …

        Well, you tried and achieved a masterpiece. Thanks a lot for it.

        • markg says:

          Thanks Wolfgang and it’s great you want to see it projected! For now I have to say no, only because I have licensing deals going on with the film, and I am going to enter it into a few film festivals. But yes, it was worth asking, and thank you for doing so 🙂

  101. John Snell says:


    STUNNING! Many thanks for doing all it took to get this on video. I’ll pass it on to many, many others.


  102. Marti says:

    Extraordinary footage. Even more extraordinary is the actual event which happens somewhere on earth almost every night.

    • markg says:

      There are lots of extraordinary events that happen on earth every day and night, and I am so happy I was able to capture one of them in this way. Thank you Marti 🙂

  103. Thank you, Mark for your beautiful concepts and presentations of nature’s mystery. Ulric (seattle)

  104. Pamela says:

    Amazing, a gift to us all. Thank you for your talent! The music you picked is
    transcendent coupled with the video. I visited Auckland years ago and it was wonderful.

  105. […] an den Bewegungen der Menschen erkennen lässt, die zu der Aussichtsplattform gehen. In seinem Blog beschreibt er die Entstehung des […]

  106. matthew Edo says:

    Simply breathtaking!! that just warmed my soul!! thanks from Ansonia CT, USA

  107. Enrico says:


  108. pauline says:

    You filmed this 28th January and we had the same thing happen here in Christchurch 2 Febuary Friday night yet last night the 3rd of Febuary we only have a half moon. WAKE UP this was not the moon as impossible to have whole moon one night and half the next!

    • markg says:

      Hi Pauline, and thanks for your comment. I’m a little confused by the comment, but will attempt to answer it. Firstly, Friday night was the 1st Feb and last night (Sat night), was the 2nd Feb. Today, Sunday is the 3rd Feb.

      I also shot this on the Monday 28th Jan, which isn’t exactly one night to the next when referring to last night, which was Saturday night, 5 nights later. The moon has a lunar cycle, and the phases of the moon does change quite dramatically, especially when comparing it 5 days apart.

      When I shot this on the 28th Jan, it was the actual night after full moon, but the moon was still 99% full. Last night, the moon was approaching the last quarter, and was at 67%. If you have a look at this page of the moon cycle, you will will see what the moon looked like on the 28 Jan when I took the photo:
      And what the moon looked like Saturday night 2nd Feb:

      I hope this helps…

      • pauline says:

        Would you compare your moon image shadowing on this planet in photoshopand see if it matches the moon or nibiru and tell me which shadow marks best match? A video of comparison would be absolutely fantastic.

  109. Penny Hajduk says:

    As Matthew says superbly, it truly warms the soul. Thank you so much for this extraordinarily beautiful film. I will return to it often, I think, when I need an uplift. Thank you.

  110. Diane says:

    Oh my gosh!! It is so beautiful! I loved the people being there (I wanted to be there) Also the music was so perfect. Thank you so much for sharing this with me!!

  111. tsaramaso says:

    That’s my contribution to spread over the people your fantastic work.
    As I said on my post…I really like you took your time to do that…

    Good luck for the next project

    and thanks a lot!

  112. markg says:

    Thanks! And thanks for sharing it on your blog, it looks great!

  113. Erin says:

    Wow, this truly moved me. The music along with the silhouetted families brought a tear to my eye. Just beautiful!

  114. […] was imaged two nights ago over Mount Victoria Lookout in Wellington, New Zealand. With detailed planning, an industrious astrophotographer placed a camera about two kilometers away and pointed it across […]

  115. wanda says:

    Thank you for sharing such beautiful art! There is something wonderfully emotional about the people moving about during the majesty of the moon’s rise. I have shared it with my FB friends, as you seemed to not mind as others did the same.

  116. Janet says:


    Stunningly majestic!! Thank you so much for sharing your vision and talent with the rest of us! You are definitely viral. Found this on and viewed this from my home in San Antonio, TX, USA.

  117. Dave E. says:

    That is great, Mark!! That would be tricky to get, especially placing yourself at the exact point for it to rise in front of the lookout. I did something similar when I was out in AZ—getting the sunset over Kitt Peak which was still pics and before the digital camera age. Turned out good but not as large as this full moon disc, realizing that they are the same size in the sky—30′ or 1/2 deg. in apparent size. I used the fall equinox setting point to get it, finding a spot exactly due east of Kitt Peak and at the right distance. Again good job!! This APOD website is so neat it is great alternative to seeing the real thing and can show more than one person can on their own.

    • markg says:

      Thanks Dave – wow you certainly did a great job of working out the point of moon rise back then. I was lucky I had software and GPS to work it all out, but there is still a bit of guesswork in that. Yes I love the APOD website – so many great images get posted there!

  118. Kaitara says:

    This was the most beautiful and most tranquil thing I have ever seen. Thank You!

  119. Krzysiek K says:

    Jestem pod wra?eniem.. Moja Em pokaza?a mi ten pi?kny obraz..

  120. Charmaine Pomerenke says:

    Just beautiful, the moonrise, the sihouettes and the music you have beautifully matched with it. I love, love, love it. Makes one aware of the majesty of creation. So wonderfully balanced to the benefit of all. Thank you for sharing your talents and work with others. Charmaine P.

  121. Tim Wilson says:

    Awesome and love it. Here in Missouri, USA

  122. Jesús Piñeiro says:

    Hi Mark, beautiful video and music.
    I am enjoy the video with my wife Julia and my daughter Sofía
    We live in Venezuela.
    Sofía could take a moon rise picture 12 hours before your video through a Meade ETX90 telescope using her Samsung Smart Phone and look very nice.
    Best regards
    Jesús Piñeiro
    Caracas – Venezuela

    • markg says:

      Hi Jesús, thank you for your comment. So glad your family could watch it together, and I bet your daughter took a great photo of the moon too!

  123. Jonathan S says:

    Spectacular, and I really appreciate the planning and preparations for having the scene perfectly framed and composed in anticipation of the rising moon. As a fellow photographer I can attest to how hard it is to get it just right as you did. Now you’re making me want to go out and get a 500mm . . .

    • markg says:

      Thanks Jonathan, yes it;s great to get comments like these from other photographers as they really appreciate what goes into something like this. It’s also funny you mention the 500mm. A friend of mine has a 800mm and I’m now getting lens envy for that! haha

  124. Alan says:

    Hi Mark – just catching up having missed a few apods this week, and amazed to see your stunning full moon capture. We watched the same moon rise in Twizel (big clear skies Mackenzie Country). I just had to add my congratulations to the countless others who’ve also been wowed by this work. Great to see a ‘right way up moon’ starring online for a change too! Cheers

    • markg says:

      Thanks Alan, and you’re obviously in the southern hemisphere! Yes it’s funny how many people queried me about the moon being upside down and rising the wrong way…I guess I might have even educated a few with this film!

  125. […] in New Zealand.   There are no tricks or special effects done to create this video.  Photographer Mark Ghee who made the attempt multiple times succeeded by filming this video and wanted to get the […]

  126. Sally C says:

    I am at a loss for words to describe how wonderful this video is. I hope it catapults you to stardom.

    • markg says:

      Thanks Sally, I’m not sure about stardom, but I do hope it gets my images out there so I can show the rest of the world the beauty that they don’t always get to see…

  127. Simona says:

    Hi Mark ! Thank you so much for sharing with us this masterpiece … I love the wonders of the Universe …

  128. Barb says:

    Breathtakingly beautiful…and touching.

  129. Ben Kepes says:

    Exquisite – really puts some perspective on us, and our importance in the world. Thanks for doing this…

  130. Jacquie K says:

    This is a magnificent video, Mark! Thanks so much for sharing it. I adore moon risings! I loved seeing one from a different perspective than what we have here in St. Louis, MO, USA. Keep up the good work!

  131. Prashun says:

    Wow! Mark, these pictures are overwhelming. It inspires me to take some serious interest in photography. Thanks for the emotions induced and good luck going viral. Also, an acknowledgement for Dan Phillipson whose scintillating music enhances the video.

    • markg says:

      Thanks Prashun, I hope it does inspire you to pick up a camera and show the world how you see things. Yes Dan’s music really made this film…without it, the film just wouldn’t be complete.

  132. […] and VFX artist Mark Gee took this absolutely stunning footage of people viewing the moon rising over Mount Victoria Lookout […]

  133. Judith says:

    Mark – this is beyond beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing it and I’m so glad it’s doing well for you – a wonderful reward for all those months of patience waiting for that perfect shot.

    • markg says:

      Thanks Judith and glad you enjoyed the film. I’m overwhelmed with the support I’ve gotten with this film from all over the world. It’s been amazing. Certainly makes me want to go out and do more…

  134. Sharon says:

    Mark, you brought tears to my eyes with this video. I adored watching the movement of the people in the foreground, what a concept! I look forward to seeing (and sharing) more of your work in the future.

  135. Jim Stimpson says:

    I loved it… fantastic. I’m glad you waited for the moment.

  136. Der Mond ist aufgegangen ……

    Der Freelance-Fotograf Mark Gee machte am 23. Januar 2013 in der Nähe des neuseeländischen Mount Victoria (Wellington) diese atemberaubenden Aufnahmen vom aufgehenden Erdtrabanten. Unglaublich, aber wahr: das Video ist komplett unbearbeitet … via theco…

  137. Moonman27 says:

    Mark, since first seeing this a few days ago, watching it since and reading the comments, I wanted to add my congratulations for your stunning piece of work. I can only imagine the months of planning, attempting, setting up, waiting and finally executing this. Really spectacular. As one of your admirers said, it does evoke that moment in “Joe vs. the Volcano” — perhaps the most charming snippet in that movie. But what is also very charming is that you are able to share this “with the world” and collect comments from around the globe. Interesting that so many people from Belgium have commented (I depart for Brussels in a couple of days to visit my daughter’s family including four of our grandchildren… I’ll make sure they see this if my daughter hasn’t already shared the link I sent her). It really does reflect how connected we all are or can be and that your piece of art can be appreciated instantly around the globe — and you can even have people who were filmed on Mount Victoria comment on their being there. Really amazing. Many thanks from here in Cross Junction, Virginia, in the US of A.

    • markg says:

      Thank you so much for the comment, and I think you’ve summed it up very well. I’m so glad I shared this with the world, and from doing so I had no expectations. I certainly never expected this! I’ve had emails and comments from every corner of the globe, and it’s amazing the effect this simple performance of people going about their business watching the moon rise from a lookout in New Zealand has had on people. It is a very humbling experience and one I will remember for the rest of my life 🙂

  138. Soledad says:

    Marck, Thanks for these wonderful 3:45 minutes in my life, my tears fallen with emotion, again many thanks from Buenos Aires, Argentina

  139. […] allora sembra quasi di stare dentro una favola. Il video che mostro più in basso è stato ripreso qualche giorno fa dal fotografo freelance Mark Gee, puntando la sua videocamera verso Mount […]

  140. Erna Dries says:

    Very good job Marc,
    its a very nice and special moment you got on tape !!! (Greeting from Belgium)

  141. Mark. I don’t know what to say.

    The video was spectacular as was the soundtrack. Truth be told, and I can’t explain this, but your presentation made me ‘misty’, just on the verge of shedding a tear. Again, I can’t explain that emotion, it has happened very few times in my life. Keep up the fantastic work!

    • markg says:

      Hi Dave, thanks for stopping by and sharing your experience with the film. I’ve been told by so many people the same thing, so you’re not alone! I guess I did capture something quite special.

  142. carie says:


  143. MaraBara says:

    I should know you from Weta Mark, but I was at the Press for years and our paths never crossed. Sorry about that, would like to shake your hand. Not only is the execution of this film exquisite, but the conception of it is totally inspired. Your choice of music is also perfect. I have watched it many times now, and it’s still exquisite.

    • markg says:

      Thanks Mara, yes Weta is such a big place with so many people and it’s easy not to cross paths, especially when you are in different buildings. I really appreciate your comment, and so glad you enjoyed the film. Thanks for stopping by and telling me in person 🙂

  144. […] […]

  145. Peter says:

    Absolutely outstanding. Sensational shot in a sensational place. Gotta love Wellington.

  146. Doug Ingram says:

    Thanks for sharing this video and for all the effort you put into making it.

    The blog about how you did it is helpful and as someone who’s tinkered with astrophotography since I was a 14yo boy (nearly 50 now) I want to say that this is one of the most beautiful pieces of astrophotography/filmography I’ve ever seen. Maybe you could add a comment for northern hemisphere types to explain why the moon is “upside down” compared to what they’re used to seeing.

    • markg says:

      Hi Doug, thanks for your great comments, especially coming from someone who is familiar with astrophotography. I’ve taken your suggestion on board and updated the blog explaining why the moon looks upside to those in the Northern Hemisphere. Thanks for the input!

  147. Pil says:

    Absolutely beautiful. Thank you so much.

  148. igor says:

    Before I saw this incredible video, I thought that the most beautiful moon is on Pandora (in the movie Avatar). Now I decided to stay on Earth …
    To be serious, the most incredible feeling – excellent flowing movement, something like a “Shadow puppetry” created by nature and beautifully shown us by Mark’s video.
    PS: I think it’s impudence and indecent, but really want to ask for one frame of the series for me and for my site beginning photographers lovers.
    Sorry for my English.
    From Russia, Sankt-Petersburg.

    • markg says:

      Hi Igor, thank you so much for your comments. I really appreciate it. If you want one frame, you could always do a screen grab of the film 😉

  149. Helen says:

    Magical…………..and the human figures give the sense of our insignificance in the scheme of things. The music adds a sense of peace and harmony to the experience of watching the moon rise.

  150. chrystal says:

    GLORIOUS! I can’t stop watching it. I will be sharing it with my friends!

    • markg says:

      Thanks Chrystal – great to hear you can’t stop watching it…a lot have people have said that. And thanks for sharing it with your friends – much appreciated!

  151. Patrick Badgero says:

    You must have had a lot of patience to capture brilliant footage like this. It just shows how beautiful space is. Many thanks for making this and I will be passing it to my facebook friends so they can enjoy it as well.

    -Patrick (Michigan)

  152. Dominique Christiaen says:

    Magnificent video!Moonrise here in Belgium (a rather dull and crowded country) is nowhere near as beautiful…
    My son, as an amateur photographer, was very interested in the technical aspects of your work.
    I have always wanted to visit New Zealand, and do so more than ever since watching your video!
    Keep up the good work!

  153. Sanjoy says:

    just too good. kudos.

  154. Barbara says:

    Thanks you for capture the beauty that god has gave us. Youre really talented 🙂

  155. Moongazer says:

    Mark, You may be interested to know that your video has sparked an interesting discussion (in positional astronomy) here:

    • markg says:

      Ah yes, good to see many discussions arising from the video, and wow there is a lot of science going on with those comments! I do remember replying to the original comment on io9, and it was certainly a valid question too.

  156. And says:

    Mark, this is so amazing and wonderful. I also want to be able to do this in the future. Congratulations from Brazil.

  157. Christine says:

    WOW! Beautiful, moving, blissful…. I think you may have brought humanity up a notch on the evolutionary scale!

  158. […] this entry today. For more on how it was made—including his “failures”—see the website of the photographer, Mark Gee. It is interesting to note that it rises in a direction (right to left) opposite of how the moon […]

  159. […] details about the video can be found at Full Moon Silhouettes –  Mark […]

  160. […] que na hora exata, a cerca de 2 km no outro lado da cidadezinha, o fotógrafo apaixonado por surf Mark Gee tinha mirado sua filmadora Canon para registrar a ascensão do nosso satélite […]

  161. L. Reese says:

    Powerful !
    Simply Awesome Video!
    Simply “Over The Frickin’ Top!”

    Outstanding Job Mark!
    Thats All Before I Find Out Its “Unedited From Camera”
    I Questioned The “Perfect Hooks” Until I Read Your Blog.
    So It Took Ya A Year To Get The Finest Moonrise I Have Ever Seen On Film?
    World Class Mark!

  162. […] ‘Siluetas de Luna llena’) el cual es un video capturado en tiempo real por el fotógrafo Mark Gee en el mirador de Monte Victoria en Wellington, Nueva […]

  163. E Dent says:

    At 64, few things move me. I allmost skipped watching this because I thought it was going to be a ” How To” on taking Moon photos. I’m glad I did watch it and as an amatuer photographer, I had to find out how you did it. You have made my day sir and I hope this gets the attention it really deserves. Thank You

  164. Joseph says:

    Address changed after I sent this out this morning. Have shot Sunsets in video before – very difficult – but not with this magnification. Or nearly as well as you did. Magnificent job. Just a tad of chromatic. The Mark IV is a popular choice for semi-pro production, but with an extender am surprised you didn’t get more aberration. Loved the brief scenes of the kids. Can their wonderment match yours??

    • markg says:

      Thanks Joseph – yes I was a little worried about the quality with the extender on, but apart from loss of some sharpness and the chromatic aberration, it wasn’t too bad in motion, which surprised me.

  165. Carol Menke-Clark says:

    Thank You Mark for your patience and hard work. This is absolutely spectaculor and the music was perfect. I live surrounded by many beautiful huge pine and cedar trees in No CA so never get to se the moon rise.

  166. Denise Staub says:

    That’s amazing!

  167. Rolf says:

    Hi. Mark. Thank you for an interesting experience. I’d like to share my thoughts on the subject. The size of the moon is of course always the same. It is, like you said, our perception that changes. If you look through a lens you can change the size of objects according to the thickness and shape of the lens. You used a specific lens to create this huge moon. Without the use of a camera lens the moon will still look bigger at the horizon, than when it raises higher up. This may be an illusion, may be. I have always thought that it was due to the thicker atmosphere acting as a kind of lens in front of our eyes. Whatever the case may be, the moon seems to be bigger at the horizon than later on, making it easier for us to see the smaller details of the moons surface. Illusion or not, it works!! The marriage of the horizon and the moon brings us closer to the moon. Isn’t this marvellous. I love the horizon. I love travelling out to the seaside and just gaze at the horizon at the end of the vast bluish space that the ocean inhibits. It’s a feeling of total freedom, and oneness with mother earth and father sky.

  168. Federico says:

    I just wanted to say: thanks. This video was beyond beautiful. And it warmed my heart.

  169. Liz says:

    Mark – I have watched this half a dozen times. I love it. Thank you

  170. John Furner says:

    Dear Mark,

    The video of the rising moon was fantastic. It caught my attention since I visited Wellington,Nov. 28, 2012, the opening of Tolkien’s Hobbit. New Zealand is such a scenic country.

    John Furner
    Ontario, Canada

  171. Hampel Rutledge says:


    This is a truly inspiring video. My mother died last month and I’ll be forever grateful that I was able to share your awe inspiring video with her.

    Hampel Rutledge
    Eugene, Oregon, USA

  172. Noel Leeder says:

    Hi Mark. A brilliant concept, superbly executed! Visuals were absolutely unbeatable, audio was pleasant but just a bit repetitive and heavy for me. I turned volume way down to best enjoy the visuals! Perhaps a slow, gentle ballad might have worked better (for me anyhow!). Visually, the early departees also became a minor distraction to the flow, but twas absolutely nothing you could do prevent that.Your camera stability from that huge distance was amazing – almost cemented to the hillside! Ten out of ten from me! Maybe 12 out of 10!! Sincere congrats! Noel Leeder ( and youtube nleeder).

  173. Robert Powell-Jones says:

    A great video,which you must have heard a thousand times.How about doing something on the theme at the Odilvai Gorge in East Africa,from where we all originated.This could be something special!

  174. My friend Mark Stegman in California sent an email about your video. What a stunning piece. Being a christian the moon takes on such meaning watching the video. Over looked so often by people even though it was placed there for a reason, to see it in such a jaw dropping way gives new meaning to it for me.

    Please think of doing a t-shirt of the final shot with the people and the words THE FOURTH DAY underneath. I would gladly purchase one as heaps of other people would I would think. Thank you for your creative eye and patience in making this fantastic video.

  175. Paul Renouf says:

    Exquisite, beautiful, thrilling… I thought I was watching with Katy my sister and she casually mentioned that she had been up there for a full moon pizza picnic to celebrate my nephew Adam’s birthday. we looked again.. and there they are… at minute 1 and minute 1:33″ walking left to right.all three of them. Paul and Adam detour down the hill to retrieve a stashed pizza box, come back to the horizon with the pizza box and follow Katy off to the right. We are all Wellingtonians so this is very special for us.. thanks so much Mark!

    • markg says:

      Thank you so much for leaving a comment and telling your story about your sister’s full moon picnic up there that night as part of your nephew’s birthday celebration. It’s fantastic that more people are coming forward with their stories about being up on the lookout that night. Before I could only guess what was being played out, but now it’s great to be able to piece together the actual stories from those in the film – I’m so privileged to have captured it!

  176. James B M says:

    Hi Mark,
    Thank you so much for reminding us all of how beautiful nature can be. This is truly a wonderful piece of work which would have tested the best of us to capture.

    Thank you

  177. Thanks Mark G. for your superb video shoot of full moon silhouettes in motion. Astronomy 011 classroom presentation at Los Angeles City College. 04/19/2013

  178. Fiona McMurran says:

    Thank you for this marvellous gift, Mark. It is eerily beautiful. I think all of us who see it feel connected to each other, and to all those humans, down through the millennia, who have looked up at the night sky in awe and wonder…

  179. Victoria says:

    Hi Mark –

    Being a full moon lover . . . I loved the video you put together – especially with the music in the back ground.
    I had a lot of reactions, first – ‘How Cool’ – then i was lost in the experience of the video – then as the music seeped into me . . .
    made me think . . . of memories . . . of times gone by . . . leaves one misty eye.

    So can we get a better compliment . . . to know that we can stir souls with our art.

    Thanks for sharing your gifts – that all might be moved . . . and even perhaps inspired 🙂

  180. Hallo Markg,

    ich weiß nicht was ich sagen soll, mir fehlen die Worte !
    Diese Aufnahmen sind so wunderschön !!!!!
    Ich bekomme eine Gänsehaut wenn ich das Video sehe und einem wird klar, wie “klein” und unbedeutend wir doch eigentlich sind !
    Ich wünsche Dir noch viele, viele Sterne und alles liebe

  181. Steffi says:

    Hi Mark,

    (da mein Englisch ziemlich schlecht ist, schreibe ich auch einmal auf Deutsch …)

    …am Morgen hat mich eine Freundin auf Dein Video aufmerksam gemacht. Dieses war der erste Teil großen Glücks.

    Der zweite und wesentliche Teil war (und ist) Dein Video dann anzusehen. Und nicht nur das, sondern auch einige Tränen (der Rührung)zu vergießen und überall Gänsehaut zu bekommen (wie das bei besonderen Erlebnissen geschehen kann, wie z.B. Freude anderer mitzubekommen, schöne Musik zu hören, Landschaften oder die großen kleinen Besonderheiten der Natur erleben (oder auch fotografieren) zu dürfen usw.).Und das nicht allein beim ersten Ansehen …

    Es hat mich wirklich sehr berührt. Und glücklich gemacht.


  182. Rod Topperwien says:

    Hi Mark, that was incredible. Was this when we had the super moon? What ISO and F stops did you use please? When you shoot the moon as a photo how do you get clarity? My shots even when the moon is high are always seeming to come out blurry/fuzzy and soft and quite ofter burnt out. Should I be using spot metering? Thank you for sharing this amazing piece of your work.

    • markg says:

      hi Rod, thanks! No this was on the 28th Jan this year. As far as settings, I shot it at f/9.0 with an ISO of 500. Getting clarity in the moon isn’t an easy thing to do, and it depends on a few things. One is a really steady tripod even when shooting a relatively short exposure. I always use mirror lockup to prevent unnecessary vibrations and a shutter release cable. The quality of the lens is quite important too. I only use a prime lens, which is a Canon 500mm f/4. It’s a super sharp lens, but unfortunately also very pricey too. I shoot totally manual 99% of the time, and the moon is something that is not easy to meter off, so my advice would be go manual exposure and do some test shots until you get the exposure that looks good without burning out, or too dark. Hope this helps.

  183. This is the most beautiful moonrise I´ve ever seen. Congratulations for your spectacular work. And thanks for sharing it

  184. maneck says:


    Breath taking…is all I can say

  185. […] the first time I've seen it. Anyway, I like it and thought I'd share. Full Moon Silhouette And, how it was shot Selena Canon Rebel XTi, a couple of kit lenses, my beloved 50mm f/1.4, and a 430 EX II […]

  186. Taraj Shah says:

    Amazing video and amazing explanation as well. Superb!!

  187. Son Ho says:

    Amazing, does this only happen during this time of year/weather or does it have to do more with the phase of the moon?

  188. Ted Bukowski says:

    Mark, Absolutely Fantastic!! I wept as I watched the beauty and splendor of this piece. Thank you for your persevering effort. GORGEOUS!!

  189. MR40D says:

    Very admirable

  190. LJ Hawkeye says:

    What an incredible video! As a previous poster commented, at first I thought it was somehow fake, given what all can be found these days on the Internet. After reading all of your explanations, as well as those on other sites/blogs, I am very pleased to believe that it is real. In your explanation I was thrown off regarding the distance you were from the park (I’m from CA, and don’t understand metric very well), but the image above really brought it home, and makes it an even more incredible feat. I have emailed the link to all of my friends, plus have posted it on my FB page.

    One last thing – What really shocked me was all of the commenters with not one negative post. In this day and age, that is almost as incredible as your video. 🙂

    • markg says:

      Thanks for the comment and thanks for spreading the word – much appreciated! Yes I’m amazed that there has been no real negative posts. Had a few non-believers earlier on, but hopefully I’ve covered all the FAQ’s and info in the blog above for them to decide for themselves 🙂

  191. kelgar says:

    Absolutely wonderful. Thank you

  192. […] moonrise was imaged two nights ago over Mount Victoria Lookout in Wellington, New Zealand. With detailed planning, an industrious astrophotographer placed a camera about two kilometers away and pointed it across […]

  193. Hi again Mark
    I enjoyed reading all of this background to your amazing video. I think you have fully answered just about any question that anyone may have. I just look forward to seeing more of your work…and to watching this video from time to time. Few things capture the beauty and simplicity of our existence (as it should be) as this does.

  194. […] tem a página do MARK mostrando como foi filmada essa lua linda! Ele estava a uns 2km +/-, sem montagem, sem nada!! […]

  195. Hi Mark –
    Thanks so much for giving me the opportunity to present my grandson Mikkel with such a great experience on the occasion of his 32nd birthday today, May 14th – I’m pretty sure he’ll appreciate it on his Facebook just as much as I did it on mine. And I’ve been very glad to read all the applauding words that you have received, you deserve every one of them! Thanks again, and all good luck with your future “shooting”!!

  196. maria francisca auter tavares says:

    Por pessoas que se determinam é que vale a pena viver…sentir o quanto o
    somos previlegiados quào belo que a nosso sistema solar.

  197. rosa andrea maciel says:

    thanks for give me this free ticket to a God´s show

  198. Veronica V. Carmona says:

    Mark, not even a speck of a star? not one star on the nightly sky? How did you managed this? I’m puzzled.

    • markg says:

      Veronica, an hour after sunset when this video was shot, there are hardly ever any stars visible on the horizon. Even if there was, because you are exposing for the moon, the comparatively faint light from the stars would not be picked up from the camera. If you have a look at any legitimate properly exposed full moon photos on the web, you will notice there will be no stars in the photo.

  199. JoAnne says:

    The mapping on the moon is flipped … did you flip the image horizontally?

    • markg says:

      Hi JoAnne, no the mapping isn’t flipped, that’s how the moon is seen in the southern hemisphere where this was shot. I mention that in my blog above 🙂

  200. irunchuk says:

    This is really beautiful! Thanks for all the work you did to get this result 🙂 I just love it!

  201. Neal Webb says:

    Wow that looks amazing. You have given me some inspiration, I create fire shows and fire art and am going to try something on the next biggest moon which is coming very soon. Check out my facebook page next week to see if we capture anything evan half as beautiful as you have. Awesome work Markg

  202. […] a real treat, check out this awesome video of a full moon rising behind a silhouetted group of visitors at the Mount Victoria lookout by the New Zealand photographer Mark […]

  203. Brian Coleman says:

    Dear Mark,
    First of all, thank you so much for your amazing photography. It’s awesome to see some images from home when I’m soooo far away. I love your full moon silhouette vid. Beautifully done 🙂 & have a few friends that would love to see your work. I’m sharing the links left, right & centre.
    Well done & thank you once again, grand master 😉 looking forward to seeing more.
    I’m still learning how to use my cannon.

  204. Lam says:

    This is truly awe-inspiring. Thank you for sharing it with the rest of the world. Once in a while something comes along that we can say, ‘Wow!’ to. This is that one thing for me, for a while, I think. Now to go watch it again on my larger computer screen, instead of my tiny mobile phone screen.

  205. Joanne says:

    Hello from Canada — not only is your video visually stunning but you couldn’t have chosen a more beautiful piece of music to go with it! Glad it was posted on APOD or I surely would’ve missed seeing it. You must be thrilled with all of the positive comments you have received. I was kind of hoping more people who were actually in the video saw it and recognized themselves.

  206. Aarthi Shankaran says:

    Thank you very much for this video! It is just brilliant!! This was such an amazing perspective to shoot and thanks for sharing. I watched this video several times and read all the comments to understand how this wonderful video turned out to be such a magic. Thank you 🙂
    Post more things to amaze us!

  207. Chris Bonds says:

    Saw your video via Jerry Coyne’s whyevolutionistrue website. Phenomenal!

  208. Hamid Ghorayshi says:

    Hi Mark,

    I watched this amazing video several times and enjoyed too much.
    I also appreciate more your extravagancy, sharing all technical details here in your page. You are a great creator and also a good teacher. Thank you so much for the explanations. I will use your experiences in my works in future.
    I will look forward to see more from you.

  209. […]… This is my “Full Moon Silhouettes” short, as seen originally on Vimeo. It is a real time video of the moon rising over the Mount Victoria Lookout in Wellington, New Zealand. People had gathered up there this night to get the best view possible of the moon rising. I captured the video from 2.1km away on the other side of the city. It’s something that I’ve been wanting to photograph for a long time now, and a lot of planning and failed attempts had taken place. Finally, during moon rise on the 28th January 2013, everything fell into place and I got my footage. […]

  210. Santosh says:

    Hi, Mark this is the best video I have ever seen. You know your explanation about how you shot the moon answered all my questions. It and other your night photographs inspired me for night photography 🙂 Thanks.

  211. GlendaS says:

    Hi, Mark. Greetings from Houston, Texas. Brilliant and phenomenal footage.Then I look across at my framed local newspaper “NEIL WALKS THE MOON”
    and remember his words. Truly inspirational work, Mark. Thank you.

  212. […] been that it was done with some sort of special effect or video editing software. Well Mark says on his website that it was created 100% in camera and I believe […]

  213. Thankyou, this is soo beautiful I just love the silhouettes, you are on tv right now 🙂

  214. Tsailin says:

    Yesterday was the Chinese traditional festival Mid-Autumn Festival, but Typhoon Usagi to mischief, thick clouds, wind and rain, not a full moon.
    My family and I appreciate your photography on YouTube, really peaceful and beautiful.
    From your page also learn about astrophotography knowledge, thank you shoot so many beautiful sight. Thank you

  215. Hitomi says:

    Hi Mark,

    Thanks a billion for this fantastic experience!

    Congratulations on winning Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2013 (chosen by the Royal Observatory Greenwich). The Guardian Friday 20/09/13 has a full spread of your photos.

    I’m thankful that you remind us what a wonderful world we live in and what we can achieve if we set our minds to.

    All the best,

  216. Patrick says:

    Pretty impressive stuff man! A friend of mine that lives in NZ posted a link to this on his FB page. I have been wanting to do something similar for a while myself, but.. I don’t have a lens that long, or any teleconverters.

    Canons’s do shoot some pretty impressive video though. (Nikon Guy myself) lol But.. its just kind of something I grew into. My Dad shot Nikon.. so, its just something I kinda fell into. I do like my camera allot (D600) it takes some pretty nice images, I don’t think the video is quite up to par with a canon though. I haven’t played with the HDMI out on the camera though, which the say helps video quality quite a bit on the D600.. maybe one of these days I’ll get an external recorder and give it a go.

    Anyway, Impressive stuff man! Keep it up!


    • markg says:

      Thanks Patrick – it doesn’t matter what the brand the tools are, these days they are all on par with each other depending on what model you use 🙂

  217. Rohit Jain says:

    Very spectacular,. and most beautiful moonrise ever seen,… Thanks for sharing…

  218. Carmine Bellucci says:

    Fantastic and inspiring work! thanks!

  219. Monika says:

    It’s so relaxing…the video & the music… so beautiful. Great job Mark! Good luck!

  220. Liliana says:

    Espectacular captura de un momento poco visto, aunque real y repetido con alguna frecuencia. Original toma que revela un ojo agudo y genial! Felicitaciones sin reservas…

  221. Gigi Lewis LPSSA says:

    This is absolutely amazing Mark. I wonder where in South Africa I could best see the moon rise like that? Anyone knows? I shoot with a Canon EOS7D but would gladly hire some equipment to try this out. Thank you for sharing this with us!

    • markg says:

      Not sure where in South Africa you could see the moon rise like that, But to photograph it that way, you need to be a couple of kms away from the hill or mountain it’s rising behind and you would need a super telephoto lens. For this one I used a 500mm and a 2x extended on it. Your 7D would be fine and I’ve used my 7D to capture similar images.

  222. […] the Cape Byron Lighthouse. I was mesmerised by it and it really was the catalyst for the idea of my Full Moon Silhouettes video. It wasn’t until the start of 2013, that I started to come to Byron to attempt to capture […]

  223. […] Cine ar fi crezut c? ?i ” a fotografia luna ” î?i trebuie ” o planificare “? ” E ceva ce mult? vreme am vrut s? fotografiez … dup? o planificare îndelungat? ?i multe încerc?ri e?uate ” . Afirma?ia apar?ine fotografului australian Mark Gee . Videoclipul a fost realizat în emisfera sudic? , în timp real a lunii în cre?tere fa?? de Mount Victoria Lookout , lîng? capitala Welligton , Noua Yeeland? . Într-o sear? de sfîr?it de ianuarie , de la o distan?? de 2,1 km fa?? de subiect , cu ajutorul nesperat a unor oameni ce urm?reau acela?i fenomen de pe vîrful muntelui , chiar dac? nu ?tiau c? sunt filma?i de un artist fotograf , str?dania artistului i-a fost r?spl?tit? . Pe lîng? celelalte fotografii realizate noapte , videoclipul i-a adus premiul Astronomy Photographer of Year 2013 . Muzica ambiental? de pian a videoclipului apar?ine lui Dan Philipson . Sursa […]

  224. Christopher Ellis says:

    Nice shot of the Moon coming over a hill, but it NNE at 21:14~22, & moon rise was at 20:31 at N 55 E. I spotted the “too far North” bit straight away. Also, for a Moon that is 3 days after Apogee, it looks suspiciously like Moon at Perigee [different centre]. I estimated that you were about 1870 m from the Lookout, somewhere near Prince of Wales Park. Photography is one thing, Astronomy is much older & more exacting. Thank you for the intellectual exercise that you have given me.

  225. […] for the moon – You may have seen my Full Moon Silhouettes video? Well it was no stroke of luck that I managed to capture the moon rising behind the lookout […]

  226. […] for the moon. Have you seen my Full Moon Silhouettes video? Well it was no stroke of luck that I managed to capture the moon rising behind the lookout […]

  227. Mike says:

    Beautiful and a bit awe inspiring! Also enjoyed your description of the process and appreciate that you took the time to write it out. Thanks.

  228. Markus says:

    Great work! Your video is featured at – congratulations!
    Greetings from Vienna,

  229. Amy says:

    This is stunning!! I was directed to your video from the NASA shot of the day site. My two science-lover children were in awe of your video. Thank you for your grit and determination in capturing this beautiful miracle of nature, and for sharing it with us all!

  230. Anita says:

    WOW…amazing…beautiful…LOVE THIS!!!

    THANK YOU!!!

  231. Chuck Lisner says:

    I was told of your site by I believe a co-worker of yours, Jordan. Watching the video was an awesome experience. Thanks for putting the world in perspective. It would not have been half as good without the people and especially the child running to his parent.

  232. This moon reminds me of how BIG God Is, and how small my probs. Really are. I didn’t exoect my reaction. It made me cry saacred tears. Thx Mark.

  233. David Roper says:

    Absolutely amazing video. Love it!

  234. Vijaya Saradhy B.V. says:

    Beautiful picturization, I love this, amazing video bit, every one must and should watch this. Thank you sir, Great work.

  235. […] The 17 minute doco they produced is a personal insight into my life as an astrophotographer. From Full Moon Silhouettes to Astronomy Photographer of the Year, I cover topics such as location scouting and camera gear and […]

  236. Flavia says:

    Achamos seu site ao fazer uma pesquisa para a escola de minha filha, de 12 anos. Ficamos maravilhadas com este trabalho! Parabéns aqui do Brasil também!

  237. Pranay says:

    Bravo!.This is an amazing moonrise. Stupendous location, timing and theme.

  238. Sheree says:

    Spine tingling! As a newbie photographer who loves nighttime photography, you are an inspiration to me! Thank you for sharing your images and methods with us. If anyone has ever watched a sunrise or sunset over the ocean or a desert landscape, they understand how fast the sun moves on that far horizon.

  239. Lenie says:

    Hi Mark…
    When I admired your breathtaking picture
    ‘Guiding light to the stars’ on 500 px where
    I am for a few weeks
    I started reading more..
    We do not have such stars skies in the Netherlands
    were I live. It is so fantastic to see
    And now this your moon silhouette wow 🙂

    What an incredibly gigantic beautiful film
    Have cost you a lot of preparation….
    Nice to read how the film came about your equipment
    and so on
    As it was not your intention..its even more
    beautiful with the people who appeared in the film

    Thanks for sharing with the world…I love photography but
    I feel humble with my pictures, which I share:) on 500 but I know
    wonders are also in tiny little things
    Good day Greetings Lenie

  240. Patricia A. W. says:

    Mark how absolutely beautiful! Congratulations on your award winning work. I always say that God blesses photographers and he truly blessed you, awesome. Goosebumps! Thank you for sharing.

  241. Cush Copeland says:


    I teach high school astronomy in central Florida. Every year since I first discovered this video, I have shared it with all my classes. I start with the sciency bits for sure but I always end up talking about the aesthetics of it and emotions it can evoke. What you have created is a wonderful piece of art that does double duty as an wonderful display of the beauty of the night sky.

    I dabble in astro-photography and couldn’t agree more with your TedTalk assessment that it is the most difficult discipline in photography, especially here in light-polluted, cloudy central Florida.

    Thank you for giving this to the rest of the world.

  242. Dear Mark,
    Thank you for capturing this magical moment. Your work is stunning and your choice of music, excellent. Between your film and Dan Phillipson’s composition, Tenderness, the piece made me feel like my soul wanted to burst out of my body.

    Shine on, Mark…shine on!
    Bright Blessings,

  243. Matter says:

    Really lovely Mark. An inspiration.

  244. MARK:

    Um, GEE! This is truly inspirational for me, as tomorrow I was planning to video a full moon rise over the Nelson Cathedral. (To insert into my wedding films). In fact, I have been studying and shooting Timelapse Photography for the past 3 weeks.
    Just wish I could ‘borrow’ your 500mm glass to put on my 5D Mk3….

    Blessings from the sunshine capital…


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