Photographer Uses Simple Illusion To Capture Giant Moon Hovering Over New York City

Large Full Moon Behind Balcony Full of People

Photographer Nina Wolfe grew up in a home that had a view of the New York City skyline, and from a young age, she was inspired by that view. She often wandered the streets of Manhattan to look for inspiration and eventually fell in love with landscape and cityscape photography. But it was the Moon that really captured her imagination and has been her muse for many years. Her Moon photography shows this celestial body hovering over the city skyline or behind familiar monuments like the Statue of Liberty.

In particular, Wolfe enjoys photographing the Moon in a way that shows off its size. In most of her images, it looks like a giant glowing orb that dwarfs the architecture. This gives her work a surreal touch that makes it stand apart from typical moon photography.

“The Moon is roughly a quarter million miles away. Any place you stand on earth, the Moon will always be the same size,” she shares. “If you take a building such as the Empire State Building and you stand right next to it, it’s huge!”

So, how does she accomplish the illusion? It's not as difficult as you might think. All it requires is shooting with a long lens.  “That will make the building look really close and, voila, you’ve captured the illusion!”

Wolfe adds, “You could also replicate this illusion if the Moon were high in the sky, and you were zoomed in and caught a jetliner passing by in front of the Moon.”

As with all astrophotography, it requires careful planning to get the creative opportunities Wolfe craves. She finds the apps Planit Pro and Ventusky to be particularly useful for determining the position of the Moon and the weather conditions. For instance, Ventusky shows the wind speed and cloud cover, which are quite useful for sizing up whether or not she'll be able to get the images she's after.

When all of her hard work to scout locations and determine the best timing for her photoshoot works out, it's incredibly satisfying. And she hopes that others will see her work and be inspired to pick up their own cameras the next time they get a great view of the Moon.

“My hope is that after seeing my images, people come away with a new appreciation of how huge and spectacular the Moon can look when photographed close to the horizon behind buildings, mountains, and other earth-bound objects. Seeing that huge moon rising is the most gorgeous astronomical event that I have ever seen.”

Nina Wolfe has always been inspired by the way the Moon looks over New York City.

Moon Over New York City

She uses a long lens to create the illusion of a giant moon hovering behind pieces of architecture.

Full Moon Behind Balcony Full of People

Moon Over New York City

Nina Wolfe Moon Photography

The result is surreal imagery that gives us a new vision of this celestial body.

Nina Wolfe Moon Photography

Full Moon Behind a Bridge

“My hope is that after seeing my images, people come away with a new appreciation of how huge and spectacular the Moon can look when photographed close to the horizon behind buildings, mountains, and other earth-bound objects.”

Full Moon Behind a Lighthouse

Nina Wolfe Moon Photography

Nina Wolfe Moon Photography

Moon Over New York City

Nina Wolfe: Website | Instagram

My Modern Met granted permission to feature photos by Nina Wolfe.

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Jessica Stewart

Jessica Stewart is a Contributing Writer and Digital Media Specialist for My Modern Met, as well as a curator and art historian. Since 2020, she is also one of the co-hosts of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. She earned her MA in Renaissance Studies from University College London and now lives in Rome, Italy. She cultivated expertise in street art which led to the purchase of her photographic archive by the Treccani Italian Encyclopedia in 2014. When she’s not spending time with her three dogs, she also manages the studio of a successful street artist. In 2013, she authored the book 'Street Art Stories Roma' and most recently contributed to 'Crossroads: A Glimpse Into the Life of Alice Pasquini'. You can follow her adventures online at @romephotoblog.
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