How the Art Happens - Paradise by Moonlight

January 08, 2020  •  2 Comments

Paradise by MoonlightParadise by MoonlightThe town of Crested Butte Colorado and Paradise Divide at night. This former coal mining town now is home to winter and summer recreationists and resort home owners. Crested Butte Photography.

Paradise by Moonlight

It's such a dramatic and peaceful scene when you witness it for the first time. Really, every time! The sleepy mountain town of Crested Butte, Colorado nestled into a cozy valley below the towering, snow-covered peaks of Paradise Divide under the illumination of a full moon.

It's a simple shot really. Just wait for winter. Wait for a good snow-cover. Wait for a full moon. It's mostly just waiting, really!

Actually, it's a bit more complicated than that. There are really only two good opportunities each winter to capture this image since the moon has to rise to illuminate the scene early enough that the lights are on in the homes. If the moon is high in the winter sky it actually provides too much light and flattens the textures and contrast. If the moonrise happens later in the evening, people have begun to turn off their lights.  January and early February are really the only months can happen. Plus, the weather has to cooperate. It takes a clear night with few, if any, clouds. It's usually pretty darn cold too!

It took me a few years to actually capture this image after It was conceived in my mind. It takes a bit of searching for the location for the camera. It also takes some experimentation to choose the best lens. A longer telephoto lens is needed to compress the space and provide the feeling of the towering mountain peaks. Maybe it wasn't that simple after all!

Paradise by Moonlight was taken 12 years ago on January 20th at 6:49 pm. That information comes courtesy of a digital camera system that provides way more detailed information than most of us need but it will be helpful this winter as I try to re-create the photograph using newer and better technology. This newer equipment will provide more pixels, better color, and better sharpness allowing me to make larger prints with more detail. Also, the town has changed in 12 years. The illuminated edge of town is now much closer to where I set up the camera. I'm not sure whether this fact will provide an improved photo or not. We'll see!

With our next full moon only a few days away, it's time to start watching the weather and checking on location. Hopefully, you'll get to see a new Paradise by Moonlight in the next few months.


Terry Toole(non-registered)
Good luck with the weather, moon, and etc. I anxiously await.
Cindy M.(non-registered)
This is amazing, Dusty! I am so glad you made the effort to capture this!
No comments posted.
Other Sites and Links

Crested Butte, Colorado photographer, Dusty Demerson creates fine art photography displayed as prints and canvases and provides private photo tours in and around western Colorado.

Studio Website

Facebook page

Artist Statement

Artist Resume

Contact Dusty Demerson

Be the first to see this blog, get a free eBook, see new images, and seasonal promotions by signing up here. Sign me up. I'll send just a few emails a month to keep you up to date on new blog posts and special promotions. I promise not to share your information or send you spam! You can unsubscribe at any time.