How to photograph the Museum of the Moon at the Chichester Cathedral
Museum of the Moon - Photography Guide
Chichester Cathedral hosts Luke Jerram's touring artwork, the Museum of the Moon, and the moon's arrival celebrates art and science and an incredible photo opportunity. Although the glowing moon is impressive, it can be a tricky subject to capture. This is why we created this guide to make sure that you snap the best possible photos during your visit.
The Museum of the Moon will be on display from 25th October – 14th November 2021. General entry to the Cathedral is free, and donations are welcome.
Opening times: 9.00 am - 5.00 pm (Sunday - 12.00pm - 2.00pm)
Wheelchair access: Yes
Venue: Cathedral Nave
Toilets: The toilet facilities are located within the Cathedral Cloisters.
Car park: There are many public car parks around the city.
Cathedral's Copyright: Photos and videos taken on cathedral grounds may be used for private use only.
Conditions and Timing
The weather doesn't make a big difference when planning your photography trip as the moon is located inside the Cathedral. However, the timing will help you to avoid the crowds and get you the best possible light.
If you wish to avoid the crowds, the best is to arrive just before 9.00 am and wait by the Cathedral entrance. Once the door opens, you will get 10-15 minutes to get a few shots without people. The second option is to arm yourself with patience and wait for the quieter time during the day.
When it comes to lighting, the moon looks the best when there is little light around it, and although the moon does glow, it's mostly visible when it's dark outside. So, following the fact that the sunset is currently around 4:30 pm in Chichester, the best option is to visit the Cathedral later in the afternoon once the sun starts to set. The second option is to book one of the Cathedral's Evening Viewing (paid) available between 6.30 and 7.30 pm.
When it comes to photography gear, there are a few pieces of equipment that will make your visit a little easier.
Standard zoom lens - The standard zoom lens will allow you to capture everything from close-up details to a wider shot.
Wide-angle lens - The wide lens will make architectural shooting shots much more straightforward. The Cathedral's interior is stunning, and you will want to capture some of it as a part of your photos.
Tripods -The Chichester Cathedral does allow you to bring a tripod as long as it's a small tripod and you operate it safely. You also have to ensure that you do not obstruct exits, other visitors, volunteers or staff. Bringing the tripod and using it will help you capture the moon with a lower ISO and avoid some disturbing noise on your photos.
Camera remote control - The benefit of a remote shutter release is the ability to trigger a camera without any shake caused by either touching the shutter button or tripod movement. This is very handy, especially when shooting in a low light situation.
First, we recommend you walk around the Cathedral while keeping an eye on the moon. This will help you get familiar with its position and understand the direction and strength of the light. To start with, two unobstructed views of the moon will offer you many photography compositions and opportunities.
The Nave View - The Nave view offers the cleanest and brightest view of the moon. The size of the Cathedral provides many ways to capture the moon.
Start by getting the wide shot with some of the pillars and the Arundel Screen (Under the moon). It is also a good idea to capture the close-up of the moon here.
The Quire View - The Quire view is an excellent spot for atmospheric and low light shots. The Quire itself offers a great composition subject. The space between can be used as a strong leading line towards the moon, and if you are lucky enough and the Quire lamps are switched on, you can use them in the composition as foreground elements.
It is good to know that the Quire provides additional shadows, and the use of a tripod will be vital here to avoid blur or digital noise.
Other Views - Other spots around the Cathedral offer minimal or obstructed views of the moon. With a little bit of creativity, they can be used for additional shots of the Cathedral.
Additional Composition Ideas
As you get comfortable with the photography spots, you can think about additional ways to use the moon in your composition.
"Holding the moon posture" - This composition will require a little bit of work. However, once you manage to position your model in the right direction, the result looks great.
Background for kids creations and toys - The moon is an excellent background for any kids creations and toys. Get your kids to create a space racket, or bring a Buzz Lightyear and use it for your capture.
Paper cut out photography - Get inspired by PaperBoyo's popular paper cut-out photography and use it as an inspiration. Then, with a little bit of planning and preparation, you can create something really special.
Lensball - The Lensball is not as popular as it used to be, however it will still work very well with this subject, so if you still have it in your photography draw, make sure to bring it with you.
Creative reflection - There isn't a natural reflection in the Cathedral that can be used, but you can create something exceptional with a little bit of creativity (and your tablet/mobile phone).
Tips For Photographing Inside The Cathedral
Photographing inside the Church or Cathedral can be tricky regardless of whether you use your mobile phone or DSLR. Here are a few tips that will help you to get the best photos possible.
Mobile phone photography:
Exposure - The cathedral environment offers an extensive dynamic range. A mobile camera can get easily overwhelmed by it and create unwanted light leaks and burned out spots. Keep an eye on your photos and adjust the exposure on your phone or simply move to a different spot to get a better light condition.
Horizontal and vertical lines - Depending on the type of photography you are trying to capture, you want to watch your horizontal and vertical lines. Does your phone have a grid? Good. Turn it on and align your horizon and vertical lines with it.
Lock your focus - Mobile cameras are good at focusing on faces and simple subjects, but they can get confused in a complex environment. So instead, tap the screen on the area you'd want to focus on and lock the focus, so you keep everything nice and sharp.
Digital camera photography:
Switch your flash off - Photography flash is a handy tool for a low light situation, however not for photography inside the Cathedral. Not only it will disturb everyone else, but it will also create a very contrasty look with strong shadows and overexposed highlights.
Keep an eye on your shutter speed - Set the shutter speed to a speed you're confident you can hand-hold without a camera shake. Then, depending on the lens and focal length you are using, start at 1/20 sec and increase the speed as per need.
Work with your depth of field - Set the aperture for your desired depth of field when you shoot larger sections of the church starting between f/8 and f/11. When you are going to shoot details, start at f/4 and go wider.
Set the ISO to Auto-ISO - The Auto-ISO will dynamically choose an ISO sensitivity and give you a good exposure for the shutter speed and aperture you've dialed in.
How To Share Your Photos Of The Moon
Once back at home, it's time to share your photos with the world and here is a list of hashtags and tags you can use across social media to share your moon captures.