A PHOTOGRAPHER put his skills to spectacular effect to capture a stunning image of the moon over Darwen Tower.

Lee Mansfield, from Hapton who works in IT solutions day-to-day, is a keen long exposure photographer who has recently been involved in researching the moon, the path it takes and how best to track its waxing and waning.

He has taken many impressive landscape photos before, mainly of sights around Lancashire but Saturday's stunning image marks his first foray into lunar photography.

Mr Mansfield said: “I’ve been doing photography from an early age but it’s only for the last 18 months that I’ve started doing it to this standard.”

Explaining his methods, he added: “It all depends on the cloud system, if it clouds over Darwen Tower you’re not going to get it, but Saturday night you could see the tower very clearly.”

Thanks to his research, Mr Mansfield was well versed in what to expect as he went out into the night and knew how best to capture the amazing sight before him.

He said: “The moon on Saturday was at approximately 95% waxing gibbous, which, although not classed as a full moon but with the right conditions, I knew it would look good.

A waxing gibbous is what lunar experts call a moon that comes between a first quarter moon and full moon.

Mr Mansfield said: “It was unbelievable to watch the moon rise from the left of Darwen Tower then go above into the clouds.”

Yesterday saw the rising of a sturgeon moon, or grain moon, another stunning sight that rises each year about the south-eastern horizon.

Mr Mansfield hopes that his photography will promote greater public interest in the moon and the lunar calendar.

His previous photography exploits range from landscapes to seascapes and nightscapes, both amateur and commercial.

To find out more about Lee Mansfield’s photography, visit his website at leemansfield.co.uk.