Wood or large metal tripods work best. I have used large Bogen tripods andmedium-sized Sliks; both have performed admirably when all screws weretightened to the maximum.People that I have introduced to these techniques who have used small aluminumtripods have not alwaysbeen satisfied with their performance. I strongly encourage investing inas sturdy a tripod as youcan afford if you intend to attempt this sort of photography regularly.
I use my Nikon F3HP, exclusively, for moonlight photography. The moremanual your camera, the better. The most difficulty I have ever witnesseda photographer havewas experienced by a friend accompanying me in North Carolina as hestruggled to make hisNikon N90 accept the length of exposures he was attempting to program intoit.
Any camera that can easily be set for manual exposure using a cable lockis appropriate for moonlight photography.
I bring a variety of lenses with me, ranging from a 35mm f2.0 to a 300mm f4.5.Use whatever lenses you already own and are comfortable with. Although thefaster your lensesare the less time you will actually have to spend photographing, speed isnot your most importantconsideration.
Contrary to what logic may suggest, in this case, faster isnot better! I cannotoveremphasize this. To spend hours of your night photographing a beautifulscene only to havethe images come back grainy is not acceptable. The time you save with faster films will not beenough to make it worth your while. There are only a few films that Iwould consider: Kodachrome and theslower Fuji slideemulsions.
When photographic film is exposed for very long lengths of time, itoften is affected by what is called reciprocity failure. Reciprocityfailure, which causes color shifts in developed images, varies dependingupon the film's chemical formulation. When Kodachrome suffers reciprocityfailure,images gain anorange-reddish cast. When Fuji's Velvia and Provia suffer reciprocityfailure, they gain abluish-green cast. If my images are to shift their color balance, I preferthat they leantowards the blue-green side of the spectrum, so I use Fuji's Provia forthis type of photography. If you have a favorite slow filmthat you are accustomed tousing, use it. I recommend a speed ranging from 50 to 100 ASA, althoughKodachrome usersmay want to experiment with their 25 ASA slide film.
The above items, plus a high-quality cable lock (I haveseen three cable locks fall apart and instantly finish these outings), areall of the photographicequipment needs that you will have. I do not recommend using filters toget around reciprocityissues or for any other reason. The exposures are too long and youare likely to getdisturbing or confusing "ghosts" of reflective light sources that you didnot see when you framedthe image. Each time you go out for a moonlight shoot, as for anyimportant shoot, you should ensure that you have plenty of fresh batterieson hand to keep your camera's shutter functioning. This is particularlyimportant if you use an automated camera which has a high electricity andbattery demand.
There are a number of non-photographic needs thatshould be addressed. The first of these is a source of light beyond thatof the moon, for your ownuse and safety. You must safely get to the spot where you plan to takeyour photos. In addition,you must be able to choose apertures, change lenses, and so forth, inbetween shots. If youchoose to photograph smaller details of your scene, you will need toilluminate these in order tofocus. Having tried many different types of light sources, Iwholeheartedly recommend the use ofa headlamp. You will need a watch or a stopwatch of some sort to time yourexposures.
Keep in mind that you will be taking these photographs late at night,presumably following afull day and knowing that you have to drive home following your successfultrip. It is essential,therefore, to prepare for your physical needs: bring along snacks andwater (and possibly athermos of your favorite beverage) to keep your body happy and well-fueled.Out in nature late atnight is no time for mistakes caused by hunger and fatigue. Also, dresswith the understandingthat you will be still for several hours, late at night. Wear an extralayer or two of clothing beyondwhat you think necessary, and thicker socks than you think you need.