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Yes, Peter Lik’s ‘Moonlit Dreams’ IS a Composite


Photographers have been talking this month about best-selling landscape photographer Peter Lik‘s new photo, “Moonlit Dreams,” pointing out that the image appears to be a “faked” composite instead of a single “real” exposure. It has since been confirmed that the photo IS a composite.

Fstoppers first sparked the discussion and debate last week by pointing out several aspects of the photo that seem to give away the fact that the moon was inserted into the scene. Among the issues were dynamic range, lighting, clouds going behind the moon, and the fact that the exact same moon shows up in another of Lik’s photos (“Bella Luna”).

“Moonlit Dreams” (left) and a crop showing the clouds going behind the moon (right).

Of the 14,000+ people who responded to the poll in our original post, over 90% believed the photo to be “faked.”

We reached out to Lik’s studio for comment regarding this issue but did not hear back. Photographer Jared Polin, however, persistently emailed and called the studio and finally received an email back.

“Hi Jared, great to hear from you. Moonlit Dreams is in fact a composite photograph,” the representative writes. “We have been open and transparent regarding this topic since before the photograph was released. I do appreciate you reaching out and inquiring. Wishing you a great weekend.”

It’s unclear how Lik’s studio was “open and transparent” about the photo, as neither listing page and microsite for “Moonlit Dreams” on Lik’s website contained any mention of it being a composite. What’s more, the listing for the photo has now been strangely deleted from Lik’s website (an archived version can be seen here), but the microsite is still online.

If Lik’s salespeople have been “open and transparent” to prospective buyers of the presumably pricey limited-edition prints, though, then this whole “controversy” may have been over nothing.