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Thread: Shooting the moon for the first time

  1. #1
    terrib's Avatar
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    Shooting the moon for the first time

    I know shots of the moon are rather boring for all you seasoned photographers, but yesterday evening was my first real attempt at trying to get some of the shadows. I am fairly pleased even though I'm not sure how I ended up on F22 on that last shot (maybe I'd had a bit too much wine by then ). Despite that, it seemed to be the best focused of the bunch.

    Shot with my Canon 100-400 lens. The first was using evaluative metering and the second was with spot metering. I believe even though the EXIF shows Auto Focus that I adjusted slightly. I did some sharpening and exposure tweaking in PP and they are cropped. Is the first one too bright even though it doesn't show any blown highlights? Any feedback for improving next time is appreciated!

    Shooting the moon for the first time


    Shooting the moon for the first time

  2. #2
    Andrew76's Avatar
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    Re: Shooting the moon for the first time

    Ooh, I like them both!! Very good detail, and moon shots aren't boring to me! I've tried a couple of times, with satisfactory results, but not like those ones! Nice job Terri!

  3. #3

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    Re: Shooting the moon for the first time

    A bright moon can work fine; but I think the main problem with the first one is that the sky isn't totally black as in #2.

    Moon photography usually requires quite a bit of various exposure compensation tweaks to suit each particular photo session.

    The traditional recommendation for moon photos was to shoot at F11. But that was alongside the advice to always use F16 on sunny days!

    Plenty of detail on these photos.

  4. #4

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    Re: Shooting the moon for the first time

    Pretty good shots. Detail if fine and within what we can seriously expect with our 300-400mm range lens.

    There are some factors that will cause softness - atmospheric conditions and movement mainly.
    For best results choose a clear night. For movement - use a tripod, shutter on 2 sec delay, mirror lockup. Remote release will be better. Focus - use liveview at 10x and focus as precisely as possible, manual focus is usually best. If using AF switch to MF after focus is fixed.

    Many say that at the aperture/speed needed for moon shots that they can get away with hand held. They well could. But remember - it is going to come up small in the image and will require a pretty heavy crop to show up at a reasonable size. The deeper you crop the softer the image is going to get. Whatever that can be done to get it at it sharpest at capture will be helpful.

    Settings - the phase of the moon and its brightness will determine that. Use the f stop range that your lens is sharpest at. Usually that would be f8-f11. ISO start off with 100 as you want to cut noise to its minimum. NR will reduce sharpness. Noise will creep into the dark part but can be taken off with selective NR while avoiding NR'ing the moon. Shutter start with 1/160. Take a couple of test shots until you get the exposure right with nothing blown. Oh, btw this means using Manual mode. You dont want AV or TV to mess with the settings.

    Post-process to personal preferences.

    Variations - unless you are using a telescope no moon shot is going to come out as a WOW shot, normally not bad but no world beater. So you need variety - moon rise, moon set, day moon are examples. The other is a dual shot, take a night exposure shot of a great looking landscape, cityscape. Then take the moon shot and merge it into the landscape. Your imagination is the only limit to the possibilities. You may want to dig up a recent monthly comp winning shot that used some of these variations in his SF Bridge night shot.

    That's it. After a while it becomes habit and pretty easy.

    Have fun.
    Last edited by Bobobird; 21st November 2012 at 08:58 PM.

  5. #5
    terrib's Avatar
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    Re: Shooting the moon for the first time

    Thanks Andrew, Geoff and Bobo for taking the time.

    Bobo, that's a lot of great information! I forget I even have Live View on the camera so that by itself is a great help. I do use Manual mode most of the time so that is not a problem. I'll give it another shot soon. Thanks!

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