Photographer Captures Moon, Mountain, and Basilica in One Incredible Photo

Moon Mountain and Basilica in one photo
Valerio Minato tells PetaPixel the photo is a “fulfillment of a dream.”

A photographer was forced to wait for six years to capture a stunning triple-alignment photo of the Moon, a mountain, and a Basilica.

Valerio Minato took the one-of-a-kind photo in Turin, Italy on December 15 after his five previous attempts to get the shot were thwarted by bad weather. He tells PetaPixel it is a “fulfillment of a dream.”

Describing it as a “magical moment”, Minato explains that for a few brief seconds — Monte Viso, the Basilica of Superga, and a crescent Moon gave a unique spectacle.

The amazing photo was selected by NASA for its picture of the day; the space agency explains that although the setting Moon is captured in a crescent phase, the exposure still captures the entire Moon thanks to the aptly-named da Vinci glow; which is doubly-reflected Earthlight. Earthlight — also known as the Moon’s ashen glow — is indirect sunlight dimly illuminating the otherwise unilluminated portion of the Moon.

Moon mountain and Basilica
Minato’s post on Instagram has received hundreds of thousands of likes.

“During the first and last phase of the lunar cycle the light of the Sun is reflected from the Earth towards the Moon, illuminating the portion of the surface in the shadow,” adds Minato.

Map of the photo shoot
A map showing the key elements to Minato’s photo. 1) Castagneto Po, where Minato was stationed. 2) Basilica of Superga in the city of Turin. 3) Monte Viso, the highest mountain in the Cottian Alps, located in Italy but close to the French border.

Shooting the Photo

Minato was perched in the small village of Castagneto Po; from there, the Basilica of Superga is roughly 35 miles and Monte Viso is a further 60 miles.

To bring these elements together, Minato used a 500mm f/4 lens attached to a Canon R5. He posted a behind-the-scenes video to his Instagram page, showing what it looked like to the naked eye and highlighting that “we are surrounded by wonder even without photo shoots of artificial intelligence.”

To see more of Minato’s work, head to his Instagram page, Facebook page, and website.

Image credits: Photographs by Valerio Minato