Astrophotographer Thierry Legault from France captured the full Moon rising beneath one of Paris’s most iconic landmarks, the Arc de Triomphe.
An Unmissable Photo Moment.
The Arc de Triomphe, an iconic landmark in Paris, is a frequent subject for both local and visiting photographers who explore various angles and compositions. Nevertheless, Legault may have achieved the most distinctive photograph to date, capturing this exceptional moment with the full Moon rising prominently between the arches in a single exposure.
“Such a shot cannot be spontaneous; the odds are extremely slim,” Legault explained to PetaPixel when discussing the preparations leading up to the final image. “In fact, I initially planned another shot, two days before at the Eiffel Tower during the moonset on Friday morning, the 15th.”
After capturing the shot at the Eiffel Tower in the afternoon, Legault traveled by high-speed train to spend the Easter weekend with his family, approximately 400 kilometers away from Paris. The following day, while examining lunar patterns for the upcoming months, he noticed that on Sunday evening at 10:10 PM local time, the Moon would rise under the Arc de Triomphe.
Legault stated, “The train returned me to the southern suburb of Paris at 20:15 on Sunday, leaving me with less than two hours to retrieve my car, rush to the Champs-Elysées, and locate the ideal spot to capture the event. I made it just in time!”
Legault added, “What’s more, high clouds were gradually moving in from the west – I observed them trailing me on the train throughout the journey. Fortunately, they only obscured the Moon a few minutes after the event!”
“A Tranquil Moon Captured from a Bustling Street.”
The area around the landmark is typically bustling with pedestrians and traffic, which meant Legault had to discover a composition that wouldn’t obstruct the view.
“I positioned myself in the middle of the avenue, aligned with a pedestrian crossing,” he clarified. “But if I had stayed precisely in line with the avenue, the red traffic lights would have been right in the center of the Arch’s view, just below the Moon.”
“I moved to the right to have the traffic lights off-center; you can see a few of them slightly to the left,” Legault mentioned. “Luckily, there were not many people crossing at that moment, and only one other photographer with a telephoto lens beside me.”
The magnificent Moon shot was captured in a single exposure. In such scenarios, Legault typically selects an exposure time ranging from 1/30 to one second and opts for the lowest ISO, typically ISO 100, to achieve the best image quality. He frequently employs a robust tripod and a wired remote control, which renders sensor stabilization unnecessary.
Utilizing Sigma equipment to minimize noise.
For the Moon shot, Legault opted for the Sigma fp L camera paired with the Sigma 135mm f/1.8 Art lens. Given his extensive experience with Sigma Art lenses, Legault trusts their optical quality, emphasizing that “astronomers are extremely demanding when it comes to optics.”
Legault expressed, “Last year, I became intrigued by the fp and fp L cameras, as they appeared to hold promise. I tested them, and I have not been disappointed. Their remarkably low noise levels make them ideal for low-light photography, whether it’s short exposures like those with the Moon or longer exposures for deep-sky imaging.”
He posted his thoughts on Facebook:
Legault also points out that when using Sigma cameras, there are no noise reduction algorithms applied to the RAW files, unlike “some competitors.” This is crucial for preserving the integrity and clarity of stars and bright lights without any distortion or alteration.