Photographer’s six-year quest led to aligning basilica, mountain, and moon in a perfect shot
Italian photographer Valerio Minato has shown us what patience, persistence, and a clear vision truly mean for photography. And what’s more, his once-in-a-lifetime photo proves to us that they pay off. After six years of trying, he captured the photo he’d envisioned, showing a perfectly aligned basilica, mountain, and the moon.
Valerio took the photo just outside Turin, showing the Basilica of Superga and Monviso mountain. He first got the idea way back in 2017 as he began exploring the hills of Castagneto Po and San Raffaele Cimena. “After finding points where Superga and Monviso were increasingly aligned, and having taken shots in various lighting and weather conditions, I decided to challenge myself even further,” Valerio shares with DIYP.
First, he assessed the feasibility of triple alignment with the Moon. To his delight, he realized that it was possible, although challenging. There were only rare opportunities spread out over time, as the Moon rarely sets at that precise angle. But Valerio didn’t let this discourage him. He began his attempts in 2017, but all of them failed… until December 15, 2023, when ” Superga and Monviso had an unforgettable encounter with the Moon,” as he describes.
He took the photo he’d envisioned at 6:52 pm, and it was a truly magical moment for him. “In a very small portion of the sky, for very few seconds, the King of Stone, the Basilica of Superga, and the Crescent Moon met, giving a unique spectacle,” Valerio writes. “The so-called ‘Luce cinerea’ or the Earthshine is also well visible: during the first and last phase of the lunar cycle, the Sun’s light is reflected from the Earth to the Moon, illuminating the portion of the surface in the shadow.”
Gear and settings
To take this photo, Valerio used a Canon R5 (buy here). It’s known for great high-ISO performance, so I guess it’s a perfect choice for night photos like this. He settled for the ISO 1600, f/4.5, and the 0.6-second exposure time.
Valerio paired his R5 with a 500 mm f/4 lens so the huge moon you’re seeing is not a composite – it’s a result of lens compression. If you’re suspicious, take a look at the behind-the-scenes video he took on his phone:
What I find encouraging is that Valerio didn’t have to travel far to capture this incredible scene. It was only 30 km from his home – he lives in Turin, and the photo is from Castagneto Po. This can remind us that magical moments and photo-worthy scenes don’t have to be hidden in faraway places – they can be just around the corner. And, as I already mentioned, this image is also the perfect example of how patience, persistence, and a clear vision will pay off, no matter how many times you fail.
Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.