Months of Planning Pays Off as Photographer Captures Full Moon Inside Arc de Triomphe

Arc De Triumph with a full moon

A photographer captured a full Moon framed inside Paris’ iconic Arc de Triomphe — a shot that took months of planning.

Photographer Stefano Zanarello was on a family vacation to the French capital, but long before he started planning his special photo using the PhotoPills app.

Zanarello, who was visiting Paris from Italy, realized that on the first evening of his trip there would be a full Moon so began looking for an alignment with one of the city’s landmarks.

“I discarded the Eiffel Tower, whose height would have forced me to shoot very far from the center and late at night, try to check out the Arc of Triomphe,” he explains.

“I was surprised to see that the full Moon would be right inside the Arc of Triomphe,” he continues. “The chances of such a shot are very low, and to find out that everything was coincidentally perfect on the date I was in Paris was incredible, a huge blessing.”

While the full Moon was inside the Arc De Triomphe at that exact moment on April 7, Zanarello was forced to make a composite because of the different exposure times needed for the Moon and the street scene in front of the famous Arc.

Zanarello was roughly 4,265 feet (1,300 meters) from the Arc de Triomphe and was using a Canon 100-400mm at a focal length of 520mm, which he achieved by using a 1.4x teleconverter.

“Well, obviously I feel very happy, but also relieved,” he tells PetaPixel. “In this kind of photo, the useful period, with the Moon in the correct position, lasts only a few seconds, because with the enlargement given by the high focal length, the Moon moves quickly in the sky.

“So, before this photo, I feel tense and nervous because I know that, if something goes wrong, there will be no second chance.”

Zanrello was fortunate there was no cloud cover that evening and he was able to capture the spectacular shot that NASA shared as its picture of the day. Last year, PetaPixel featured French astrophotographer Thierry Legault who captured a similar photo.

More of Zanarello’s work can be found on his Facebook, Instagram, and website.

Image credits: All photos by Stefano Zanarello.