Step 9: Determining When and Where to Shoot
First check when the sun and moon set. You'll want to choose a time when the moon sets at least 2 hours after sunset (and at least 2 hours before sun rise). You can google "moonset" or check this site: http://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/moonrise.html. Make sure the moon isn't a new moon. Pick a date that meets these conditions. As that date approaches, check the weather reports. The ideal weather is a completely clear sky - no clouds at all. Clouds can obscure the moon and/or reflect enough light to mess up your shot. (The light reflection is generally only a concern if there's a lot of low cloud, like rain clouds.) You'll want a dark place away from the city lights, the darker the better. If all these conditions are met, grab your camera, tripod, and light blocker and head over to your chosen location on the appropriate date. Aim to arrive at least 2 hours before moon set so you can do some test shots. Take along an extra battery if you have one. This way, you don't have to worry about draining the battery while doing test shots.
If you're taking a different type of shot, the general advice still applies. Check the weather conditions and ambient light (e.g. light from street lamps, the moon, etc.). Make sure there's nothing at the site that would interfere (e.g. a highway in the background that may have car headlights shining directly into the camera). Arrive early to take some test shots to allow for test shots.