Few things are more pleasing to the human eye than perfect symmetry, which can be surprisingly difficult to find in nature.
Perhaps that’s one reason this photograph went viral, but also perhaps because of its breathtaking contrast between earth and sky, light and dark.
Swiss photographer Bernd Nowack is humble about his work. He attributes his iconic, eye-catching photograph to his love for nature and the transition between night and day.
He is also a fan of contrast.
“Photography has been a constant companion since my teenage years. First in black and white with its own darkroom, then with slides, and finally digital,” he says. “In the last few years, I have found more time for photography and have developed a lot.”
As a nature lover, his photographs, which he calls “recordings,” often focus on the transition between night and day. The constantly changing light is constantly “conjuring up moods.” And then there are the incredibly intricate details that nature has to offer the photographer.
He describes wandering through the Sihlwald—a forested nature reserve in the Sihl Valley near Zürich—which begins right next to his house, and seeking out motifs “in wild ravines, at waterfalls or in wild garlic forests.”
Of the photo itself, he admits that there’s something intensely satisfying about the moment of the full moon setting behind a gorgeous bare-branched tree—a moment that is now permanently frozen in time for millions to enjoy.
But he isn’t merely satisfied by the image itself, or its peaceful mood.
“It is, in the end, very satisfying to see the moon setting at the place you wanted it to set,” Nowack shares. “First the month-long planning, then waiting for the right weather, then deciding the location where to stand to be at the right position at the right moment—with the 600 mm focal length of the telelens, the moon is moving through the viewfinder like a race-car, so there’s not much possibility to change the location! I wanted to have the moon exactly symmetrical to the tree. Luckily, I was able to move up another hill, so I had a few tries to get it right.”
His passion and hard work have not gone unappreciated. The viral photograph is now, perhaps, one of the most widely recognized images online.
“It made its way through the internet,” Nowack adds. “So it’s kind of nice to hear how much impact it had.”
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