His frequent destination for these photography sessions is L.A.X., Los Angeles’ airport. Some days, it takes him less than 15 minutes to capture a satisfactory shot, but there are also times when he spends hours without success.
Paul Roa encounters numerous unpredictable factors in his pursuit of capturing Moonshots. After many nights of research and exploration, he has finally discovered the most scientific approach to pursue his passion. Every month, Paul Roa and his fellow photographers embark on a “moon-chasing” expedition, forming a group they call the “Lunartics.” Among the group is Vietnamese photographer Huỳnh Công Út (Nick Ut), who previously won the Pulitzer Prize with his iconic photo “Napalm Girl.”
The process of capturing Paul Roa’s images begins with tracking the flight paths of airplanes through the Plane Finder app. Combined with the Deluxe Moon app to determine the Moon’s positioning during the night, the basic preparations are completed.
However, that alone is not enough to capture a beautiful shot. The most crucial aspect for Paul Roa is knowing where to position himself. Typically, he lets the Moon’s position in the night sky dictate his shooting location. Sometimes he photographs from a supermarket parking lot, and other times from an alley behind a school. Regardless, Paul always aims to be approximately 50km away from the airport, allowing him to witness airplanes flying at altitudes ranging from 1.5km to 1.8km. “If you’re too close to the airport, the planes will be too low, obstructing the Moon, or they will pass by too quickly, and you won’t have time to capture anything,” Paul shared.
Paul Roa’s equipment includes a Canon camera with a Sigma lens featuring a focal length of 300mm, an aperture of 5.6, and set to continuous shooting mode. He directs his lens towards the Moon and patiently awaits the arrival of airplanes as his “targets” to press the shutter. Typically, Paul repeats this process until he captures a desired image or until he becomes tired.
“Capturing such photographs requires a combination of skills and a touch of luck. The Moon, airplanes, your positioning, and camera settings – all these elements come together to create a compelling image. Perhaps it’s because of this reason that I am extremely passionate about photography,” shared Paul Roa.