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Full Moon Shot
Sorry to bother you with such a trivial post however I would be very interested in getting some insight or tips on capturing an image of a full moon or any moon for that matter on a perfectly clear night without it looking like I have taken a shot of a lightbulb with no detail or sharpness. Using a D70S and a 70/200 f/2.8.

Thank You..

Comments (12)

You'll need to underexpose. The dark sky around the moon will fool the camera into thinking it's very dark. You can either use a spot or center-evaluated metering on the moon, or just use evaluative and underexpose by 2 stops (or try manually exposing until you've found an exposure you like)..

Other than that, bring a tripod, use the mirror lockup, to avoid blur...

Comment #1

Thank You Nathan I will give it a try !..

Comment #2

Basically it is a daytime shot, because you are literally shooting something lit up by the sun. For a full moon try ISO 100, F8, 1/250 as a starting point. For lesser phases of the moon, slow down the shutter speed accordingly..

BTW, it's better to photograph a gibbous moon than a full moon - the reason being is that you will get some mountain details along the terminator (where dark meets sunlight)..

Also try photographing the moon as part of an interesting composition - shots of just the moon are boring..

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Comment #3

To take a picture of the moon you need-.

Long lens 1000mm(35mm equivelent) about.high iso(800?) to force afaster shutter speed..

Exposure-the moon, odd as it sounds is hign noon sunlit. just like noon on earth. we are 240000 miles to moon, BUT earth or moon is 93000000 miles to sun. that determines exposure. as other replyer stated use sunny 16 rule. that is for a full moon 1/iso at f16.

Shoot a very hign shutter speed to start, take more than 1 shot at each shutter speed(3) then go down to about 1/30sec.use stong tripod..

Use cable shutter release or self timer. if self timer this will take a while, and you will have to keep adjusting moon in viewfinder.Use mirror lockup if your camera has it.Turn IS,VR,SR off, your camera is on a tripod..

DO NOT TRUST LIGHT METER IN CAMERA. it is being fooled by all the black sky. even spot meter, if available will not help, it won't go small enough to get moon only. moon is only 1/2degree wide, smaller than any spot meter.get away from city. turbulance and lights are bad news.if 1000mm or so not available, use biggest available. crop in post-processing.not as good as big lens but will work.shoot many pics, you can always delete later..

Happy moon pics. good luck.also-sunny 16 rule-i/iso is shutter speed. if iso is 100 then shutter speed is 1/100about.fstop is 16.0..

The f stop is f16. this a starting point. any lens is not at max sharpness at f16, so adjust fstop to f8 or f11, and move shutter acccordingly..

Check moonrise times in your area. you want about 3 hours after moonrise to start your pic taking. this gives the moon time to get far enough above the horizon to clear the horizontal atmosphere and turbelance..

You also need crystal clear skys. NO rpt NO haze, clouds, or humidity. humidity is noticable if you have corana around the moon, this could also be haze. in which case shoot on another night.happy moon pics..

Garysecond reply-on the subject of lenses-.

I use the bigma(sigma50-500+1.4converter). a smaller lenses will work, you just have to crop. but, if cropping heavily do not expect a lot of detail, you just won't get it. though remember any lens is multiplied by the crop factor. so your 135 becomes about 200-205mm..

I shoot at iso800 and at f8.0 end up at about200th-400th of a sec. when start taking the shot I start at 1/1000 and go down to about a 1/30. I also should three shots at each shutter speed, thus increasing the odds of getting a good one somewhere in the bunch. I expect to hit the good shots as stated at about 200th-400th..

Do not shoot if high humidity or haze or any kind of atmosspheric turbelence. it just is a waste of memory and time. I shot originally in a park in Detroit michigan on what I thought was a clear night, forget it. I actually got some good pics 200 miles north on the shore of Lake Huron. much better..

0ne thought, if available you can try putting a 2X converter on the lens, that would get to over 400mm. there are also several moon pic takers that use more than I converter. 2 2Xs or a 2X and a 1.4. it sound odd but the results are worth it. they are better than the crop heavy method..

Do not underestimate how bright a 3/4 or just under full is in terms of brightness. it equal to highnoon on a cloudless day in the summer.focus-.

Put lens on manual focus. then put it on infinity(assuming lens does not focus past infinity,some do) or manual focus..

F16.0 comes from the rule of 16. it is the starting point. if you want f8.0, as I use, then you move the shutter speed accordingly to get back to the EV. it is 1/iso for shutter speed under rule of 16. for f8.0 and iso500, for example, you move 2stops or 1/125. at iso500 the shutter speed is 1/500..

By the way, the above set of instructions work, I just got back from oscoda michigan, I live in detroit, used the same instructions, it worked..

Also, with my setup: pentax *istD, bigma50-500 at 500, 2x converter, this gives 35mm equiv of 1500mm. the moon's size is almost exactly 1/2 of the short side of the frame. in other words, you need all the telephoto power you can get...

Comment #4

IMac, therefore iAm wrote:.

Also try photographing the moon as part of an interesting composition- shots of just the moon are boring..

That part is the hard part!.

I tried through a tree branch over-hanging near the moon and it didn't work out so well, even when I tried overlaying different photos with different exposure settings. I suppose one would have to use a flash to light up the branch a bit..

Another shot might be with a mountain when the moon is just coming up, but again that's not so easy as the mountain has likely lost all it's detail. Maybe when the moon is out in the daytime... but not everyone has mountains..

A building could look cool, like the side of a big multifloor building..

Still, all these ideas aren't easy. If anyone has taken pictures of the moon then they know that the moon is moving a heck of a lot faster than when you just look at it. That thing is ripping through the sky and the scene changes by the second!..

Comment #5

Thanks to all for the tips/information..

Gary,.

Thank You very much for the detailed explanation that will help tremendously..

John..

Comment #6

Jmcwk wrote:.

Sorry to bother you with such a trivial post however I would be veryinterested in getting some insight or tips on capturing an image of afull moon or any moon for that matter on a perfectly clear nightwithout it looking like I have taken a shot of a lightbulb with nodetail or sharpness. Using a D70S and a 70/200 f/2.8.

The full moon (when not near the horizon) is a daylight shot, f/16 at 1/ISO shutter speed (as mentioned in a post above). However, since the moon is grey (and we're used to "seeing" it as white), you might want to use the "loony-11 rule"; f/11 at 1/ISO shutter speed. But without any earthly detail in the image, you're better off with a non-full moon shot..

If you want a moom/landscape, you'll have to do your homework! The moon rises at a different location than the sun - and it varies from month-to-month. If you want the earth-bound foreground exposed similar to the moon, you'll have to shoot a full moon very shortly after sunset (and while the moon is very close to the horizon)..

This shot was planned months in advance:.

Image control:Zoom outZoom 100%Zoom inExpand AllOpen in new window.

(see a sequence at: http://pixseal.com/2007/2007sfmoon/index03.htm).

As was this one:.

Image control:Zoom outZoom 100%Zoom inExpand AllOpen in new window.

(see a sequence at: http://pixseal.com/2005/2005sfmoon/index.htm).

We're planning another one for Saturday night Davehttp://pixseal.com..

Comment #7

Yeah, it's not easy - and I generally don't shoot the moon simply because the effort rarely is worth the results. But a couple things can help - shooting at twighlight/dawn and clouds..

This was shot at sunset two nights before the full moon. Unforunately with this shot, my back was literally up against a wall and I couldn't back up far enough to use a longer lens to make the moon bigger:http://www.pbase.com/indyboosler/image/85059573.

And here's a so-so shot taken two days later during the full moon that wouldn't have even been worth it if it wasn't cloudy.http://www.pbase.com/indyboosler/image/88113345.

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Comment #8

That second one is definately compelling. I'm impressed. And I have to tell you that I've seen and done alot. It takes a great image to do anything to me at all nowadays. But this one... well I just have to congratulate you for being in the right place at the right time and realizing what you had to do to bring the bacon home.



The first one makes me wonder what in the heck you are doing with that arch when you can get it either close or actually through the arch. Move up man! Go go go!!!.

But that second one really makes up for it. I don't need to see the entire moon and in fact, it's the clouds that make the picture; just like clouds often make the sunset. Good work ..

Comment #9

I think that they are good composition examples; but I see them as not so good equipment and exposure examples..

They are framed well and artisitically so; but they lack so much resolution that I find them to be lack-luster. I wouldn't buy these images. But I would be surprised and even think that maybe they were photoshopped if I were to see them with better exposure and equipment..

Most of the time I'm of the mind that the best photographs don't come from good equipment. I hired my Wedding Photographer that had a Nikon D100 when the D200 was already out. But I hired him because he was familar with his equipment and could get the job done and he did for the most part..

However, when you're shooting the moon (SHOOT THE MOON!), you can't just rely on a p&s camera with a long telephoto and digital zoom which is what this looks like. If I'm wrong, then curse me and kick me off the island; but these things while extremely well composed, lack the resolution that I see all the time from dSLR photos of the moon. They aren't good shots. And I'm not saying you can't take good photographs with non-dSLR photos. I think that I have more excellent shots with my C-8080 than I have with any other camera I've ever owned. It's not an equipment neurosis like many suffer from; but when it comes to zoom, almost all p&s look like this and this looks like it ain't working except on maybe canvas where you can hide the fact that it lacks resolution..

Again, not to pick on the photographer; because honestly the photographer is obviously better than his equipment. If I'm wrong and this is an SLR, then I think the photos aren't that good technically. Either way, compostiion-wise, they are excellent!..

Comment #10

I tried this to avoid the bare light bulb in the sky look - taken with my G9.

Image control:Zoom outZoom 100%Zoom inExpand AllOpen in new window..

Comment #11

Points well-taken..

I'm not at all satisfied with the quality of the first image. The buildings in the image were 5+ miles from my camera position suffer from atmospheric distortion (and maybe too much cropping - 300mm just wasn't enough). Suprisingly, there were a half-dozen photographers at our spot waiting for this shot. Among them was the top photographer for the S.F. newspaper - even using a 500/4.0 lens, he didn't get his image published..

A slightly different shot (a mere seconds before than the one in my OP):.

Image control:Zoom outZoom 100%Zoom inExpand AllOpen in new window.

The 2nd image (in my original post above) does hold up well in a 12" x 18" print (I've made several). We mis-calculated where the moon would rise - it rose too far north (left) and didn't position above the church until it was too high (and bright) - the thin cloud cover attenuated the moon enough to balance the shot. The church was 2+ miles from my camera position.Davehttp://pixseal.com..

Comment #12

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This question was taken from a support group/message board and re-posted here so others can learn from it.

 

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