The official full moon rises about 45 minutes after dark. So, photographing the full moon rising behind sunset-tinted red rocks takes planning. Schedule your photo shoot one or two days before full moon to get a moonrise at sunset. Also, keep in mind that Sedona’s tall cliffs can hide the appearance of the moon by several minutes. Moonrise occurs about 45 minutes later each consecutive day.
Moonlight photos of the red rocks create dreamlike landscapes with stars sparkling above. Prepare for a nocturnal photo shoot sometime during the two or three days surrounding full moon. Set your digital camera to a high ISO, use the widest aperture possible (the smallest f-stop number), and stabilize the camera with tripod. Keep the moon to your back to light the rock formations—don’t place it in the frame. Expose for 15-30 seconds. A longer exposure will streak the stars. Experiment with exposure times for the better results.