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Thread: How to photograph the moon?

  1. #1
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    How to photograph the moon?

    Hello, I need help, I’ve tried to shoot the moon, when the sky is blue and with daylight there is no problem, but in a clear black night, simple I can’t, I tried different exposures and apertures, shutter speed and ISOs. I know there is something wrong that I do, I’m learning to shoot in manual mode, this is my only problem, in other situations all goes flawlessly,
    Thanks and greetings from Cusco, Perú
    Javier

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    Re: How to shoot the moon?

    Hello Javier:
    Here's a shot I took, along with the exif data. I think this will give you enough information.
    Please note that you generally have to really reduce the exposure, depending on the metering mode you are using.
    Just experiment with different exposures and keep the shutter fairly fast because the moon is "moving"!

    Canon 5Dmk2, 1/400s f/7.1 at 280.0mm iso400
    How to photograph the moon?

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    Re: How to shoot the moon?

    Thanks Javier for asking the question and Roger for an answer. I've been wondering the same thing myself. I want more than just the moon in my shots though. Any ideas for that. We just had this big old full moon and I would have loved to have gone back to the covered bridge and taken some shots. It's -20C here though and I was pretty sure they would not turn out so I didn't bother.

    Is it best just to shoot the moon and then patch it into shots with photoshop (or some other software) or is there a good technique to get both the moon and moonlit subject properly exposed?

    Just curious, if anyone has more ideas.
    By the way, nice shot Roger. I'd be happy with that hanging over my covered bridge.

    Wendy

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    Re: How to shoot the moon?

    Quote Originally Posted by ScoutR View Post
    I want more than just the moon in my shots though. Any ideas for that.
    Wendy:
    The moon will be much brighter than any of the landscape it lights up, so you'll have to settle for a blown out moon unless you try shooting with a gradient filter (at least 3x, probably more). Alternately you could do an "hdr" shot sequence: one exposed for the landscape, another exposed for the moon, and then combine the two in p-p. Patching the moon into other photographs can be tricky. There are some on this forum that can spot that kind of trickery
    BTW, since when is shooting in -20 deg C weather too cold?
    Roger
    Last edited by rogerb; 2nd February 2010 at 12:34 AM. Reason: correction

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    Re: How to shoot the moon?

    Quote Originally Posted by rogerb View Post
    Wendy:
    The moon will be much brighter than any of the landscape it lights up, so you'll have to settle for a blown out moon unless you try shooting with a gradient filter (at least 3x, probably more). Alternately you could do an "hdr" shot sequence: one exposed for the landscape, another exposed for the moon, and then combine the two in p-p. Patching the moon into other photographs can be tricky. There are some on this forum that can spot that kind of trickery
    BTW, since when is shooting in -20 deg C weather tough?
    Roger
    Thanks Roger: I kind of figured the moon would get messed up with the long exposure required for the rest of the shot. I don't really want to go the photoshop route, I just thought that might be the accepted method in this day and age I know if I tried it everyone (not just some) would spot it. :/

    I will check out the graduated filters. I never like my skies either, so that might help out there too.

    I don't mind -20 if there's at least a chance I might get something worthwhile. I haven't even done any night shots yet, let alone go out to the boonies and try to shoot the moon over a bridge. One of these days....

    Thanks for the help
    Wendy

  6. #6
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    Re: How to shoot the moon?

    Quote Originally Posted by ScoutR View Post
    I kind of figured the moon would get messed up with the long exposure required for the rest of the shot.
    Since the moon would not be that prominent in a combined landscape shot, you could slow the shutter down without impacting the quality of the image. A speed of 1/100s would give you two stops from where I shot mine, and you could probably go even a little slower.

    Look into graduated filters. You can buy a "kit" of 3 filters from Cokin for a reasonable price and you could then stack a 3x and a 2x to really knock down the light from the moon. However, obviously anything you put in front of the lens will degrade image quality somewhat
    Good luck!
    Roger

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    Re: How to shoot the moon?

    Thanks Roger and Wendy, this has me helped, well I think the better is to use the point metering. As usual, when you want to do something (now I have many ideas), the sky here is cloudy, :- (
    Well, there is nothing more to do, than waiting.
    Again thanks
    Javier

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    Re: How to shoot the moon?

    This should be another challenge, not to see who does it best, but what technique you use.

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    Re: How to shoot the moon?

    If you get some shots post them and keep the post alive. I won't have a chance for another month - then I'll give it a try. In the meantime look forward to see what others have done and how they did it.

    Wendy

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    Re: How to shoot the moon?

    Here is one i shot at 840mm -f/11-1/60s-iso320

    How to photograph the moon?

    I use full man. mode--spot meter--weighted tripod--timer--man. focus--mirror locked--exposure at +1/3 ot +2/3 ev, spot metering off the brightest spot of moon.

    Depth of field isn't an issue, so use the aperature setting that your lens is sharpest. Usually f/8 for most lenses. I used f/11 because i had 2 teleconverter on and i loose 3 stops because of it.

    Focus is very critical in getting a good shot. Shoot about a dozen shots so you can pick the one with the sharpest focus.

  11. #11
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    Re: How to shoot the moon?

    Missed out photographing the fullmoon this month. Have to wait until February 28th.

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    Re: How to shoot the moon?

    Taken a couple months ago.
    How to photograph the moon?
    50D 100-400/2-1.4x TCs f/8 ISO 200 1/200" Spot metered/ Daylight WB

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    Re: How to shoot the moon?

    Jim,

    Nice photo.

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    Re: How to shoot the moon?

    All great photos. For some reason these closeups always look like peeled oranges to me. I wonder if the moon might be a good source of Vitamen C.

    Does anyone have any shots with the moon in a scenery. From the camera, not photoshoped, and the settings used to take the shot.

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    Re: How to shoot the moon?

    Wendy

    I posted this in early January. As you can see, the moon is completely blown.

    How to photograph the moon?
    40D 17-85 f4-5.6 Kit IS USM @ 50mm. ISO 800. 1/40@f6.3.

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    Re: How to shoot the moon?

    Hi Donald, thanks for re-posting this. Would you mind if I use it as an example for some questions I have about this type of shot.

    Wendy

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    Re: How to shoot the moon?

    Quote Originally Posted by ScoutR View Post
    Would you mind if I use it as an example for some questions I have about this type of shot.
    Please go ahead.

  18. #18

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    Re: How to shoot the moon?

    Quote Originally Posted by Donald View Post
    Please go ahead.
    Thanks Donald:

    Yes, this is the type of thing I like. The moon is quite bright, but actually I would find this acceptable and would be very happy with a shot like this.

    I am however curious as to how graduated filters would work with this shot. Say for instance if you wanted to tone down the moon and used a neutral density filter. A few questions: (probably stupid ones but I'll ask anyway)

    1. can you see the effect of the filter through the lens, and if so then you just compose the shot so the filter is where you want it in the shot? If not, do you just try a number of shots at various angles and pick the best one?

    2. In this case, would it even be possible to use a neutral density filter. I'm thinking if the moon was higher in the sky it would work, but with it so close to the horizion, I don't see that the results would be that nice...tree line too dark and and probably a solid dark line across halfway across the trees.

    3. If the moon was higher in the sky and a filter was used, I'm thinking the sky will now be to dark. If this is correct then I'm wondering which is easier or best - darken moon and sky using the filter and then lighten sky in PP or just shoot as is and then try to darken the moon if required. I would want to do this without haloing or other artefacts, so I guess the question is: Would it be easier in PP to lighten the sky or darken the moon?

    Like I say I would be quite happy with this type of shot as is. I prefer the lighter moonlit sky as opposed to what I think I would get with a density filter. Just wondering what everyone else thinks or does with this type of shot.

    Thanks for letting me use your shot Donald.
    Wendy

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    Re: How to shoot the moon?

    A trick I used a few times back in the early 50s. I wanted the full moon across a barren desert dry lake, with mountains large on the horizon. I set up the tripod and snapped the picture of the lake bed and mountains as the moon was high in the sky, out of the picture frame. Then, without advancing the film I waited until the moon reached the horizon, changed the settings and snapped again. Worked fairly well, once I figured out the settings.

    I used this technique on lightning shots, shooting across Lake Mead, also. The problem with double exposures is that you get only one shot. (No computers in those days.) I'd take a shot of the lake at sun down, and take a bulb exposure over several minutes after it was full dark and the lightning was dancing about on the far shore. We'd still, often, have to burn and dodge under the enlarger.

    Pops

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    Re: How to shoot the moon?

    Thanks Pops: I actually remember trying stuff like that. Not in the fifties though I never did get anything worth keeping.

    I'm not sure, but I don't think I can do double exposures with the camera I have now. I guess the modern way is to take 2 shots and put them together. At my present level of competence, I don't know how to do that. I might get there some day. I'm very lazy and impatient though, and I'm really looking for an easy way to do this that does not involve lugging around a tripod.

    How are the birds doing? I still don't have any coming to my feeder. Just 3 kinds of Squirrels.

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