Last night was Friday the 13th, and I was hoping to get lucky with the crescent moon as it was going down in the western sky. Catching a crescent moon at twilight is kind of tricky, because you have several factors to consider. For example, if you want to capture the rising crescent, you will be shooting at dawn a couple days before the New Moon. If you want a moonset, then it will be at sunset a couple days after the New Moon. Other factors include the location of the moon on the horizon, size of the crescent, and the time of the setting or rising sun. All of these can be determined with one of the various smartphone or tablet apps such as The Photographer’s Ephemeris (TPE).
Most of the factors looked promising for the crescent after sunset on the 13th. It was two days past the New Moon and, according to TPE, it would be lined up fairly well with the Jefferson Memorial with the Tidal Basin in the foreground. The size would be a little smaller (<5% illumination) than I would have liked and a bit higher in the sky (9 degrees), but otherwise there seemed to be a lot of potential. So I headed down to the Tidal Basin to see what would happen.
(Technical Data: Nikon D800E on tripod with 70-200mm f/2.8 lens extended to 125mm. Five separate exposures at varying speeds (0.3 to 0.8 sec) @f/8, ISO 400; Images merged in Photoshop during post processing)
I started shooting about 10 minutes after sunset and stopped about 55 minutes after sunset. The best results were at about the 35 minute mark, seen above. Those looking closely will see the three spires of the USAF Memorial on the right side of the image.