"not a Photoshop composite" was a sly hint that a trick of sorts was involved. I used in-camera multiple exposure. I focused on the moon, then placed the moon in the upper left of the viewfinder, snapped, recomposed to include the people, pressed the shutter again. Yes, I am a cheat
P.S. I like that it looks like people are gathered to see the celestial event!
When I looked at your photo, I hadn't read the verbal description. My initial feeling was that the photo was shot at a very high altitude (in thin air), and the white stuff must be snow. Why? Because the line between shadowed and sunlit parts of the moon tells that the Sun is about 30 degrees above the horizon. This means that the sunlight must be very strong compared to moonlight. (The Sun lights the atmosphere directly, while the moon is a dark patch reflecting about 1/6 of incident light, from an infinitesimal fraction of the space, and scattered in all possble directions.) If the moon is only 1-2 degrees above the horizon, the moonlight would have to travel a very long way in the low atmosphere. Experience tells me that the moon cannot be that clear and bright if it's as low as in your picture. Except in a place where the air is very thin and clear.
A well executed trick all the same. And the physical impossibility does not detract from the beauty of the image.
As an aside, I did an aerial photography shoot with my father-in-law last year. I cropped, then rotated an image about 30 degrees, without him knowing. He took one look at the final image and told me it looked wrong. He told tell me exactly what I had done! You must be his relative
Thanks, Diane. I learned the trick from my photography teacher at cont ed. He would shoot an entire roll of film using a telephoto lens at the moon, place the moon in one corner where he would remember,wind the film back into the canister, then go out at night to capture cityscapes.