How NOT to Photograph the Moon

There are plenty of tutorials and examples on the Web for capturing amazing photographs of the moon. Photojournalist Van Applegate recently experienced a humorous personal fail that shows how not to do it.

Applegate is a news photojournalist and documentary filmmaker who works full-time for Fox 5 in Washington, D.C.. He has won 6 Emmy awards, a Murrow award, and an AP award, so Applegate is no stranger to handling a camera and creating award-winning imagery.

But while he was out on assignment in Thurmont, Maryland, Applegate noticed the full moon in the horizon and decided to capture a beautiful shot of it rising through tree branches.

But something didn’t seem quite right…

“I had a feeling it wasn’t the moon,” Applegate tells PetaPixel. “But when I zoomed in and focused it was obvious.”

“Classic mistake,” Applegate says. It turns out the “moon” he had been framing was actually a Burger King sign located about a mile away.

The photojournalist had a laugh and then shared his blunder on Twitter, where it went viral:

“It seems many can related to the story,” Applegate tells PetaPixel. “I’m just the only idiot who tweeted about it.”

The viral photos even caught the attention of Burger King:

Applegate may have failed at capturing the beautiful moon shot he was aiming for, but he did end up with a great story, a pair of viral photos, and a great new sentence for his Twitter bio:

Image credits: Photographs by Van Applegate and used with permission