Incredible Photos Make Nighttime Look Like Day

Since 1998, British artist Darren Almond has been taking sublime photographs of landscapes around the globe illuminated only by the light of the full moon. Now, 260 of these photographs are compiled in Fullmoon, a new book from Taschen.

While taking his photographs, Almond keeps the shutter open for a quarter of an hour, letting his camera soak up the moonlight and reveal details of darkened scenes the human eye cannot usually see. “With long exposures, you can never see what you are shooting,” Almond, who was nominated for the 2005 Turner Prize, says in the book. “But you are giving the landscape longer to express itself.” This long exposure time means the mountains, rivers, meadows, and canyons are illuminated almost as in daybreak, but the silvery lunar light is cooler than the sun’s, and lends the images a wistful, mystical air. Star lines are visible across the sky in his shot of El Capitan, a vertical rock formation at Yosemite National Park; ghostly mist shrouds tiny islands in the Pacific Ocean; a nocturnal rainbow appears in a fairytale-like shot of a waterfall in Brazil.

Almond’s Full Moon series began with him photographing landscapes pictured in famous paintings–like Mount Saint Victoire in Provence, which had been the subject of many of Cézanne’s paintings–but soon expanded to include other remote locations. From shots of the Rwenzori Mountains in Uganda to the Japanese seashore to barren Arctic ice fields, Almond’s photographs peel back the curtain of darkness to reveal the majestic realms that hide right before our eyes.

Fullmoon is available from Taschen here for $70.CD