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DPChallenge Forums >> General Discussion >> Need advice on shooting moon....
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12/24/2007 10:47:35 AM · #1
....during a long exposure.

I want the full moon and all its detail.

I want to shoot at night, or dusk, so long exposure.

I tried this morning, and the results were not what I was after.

At f22, 800 iso, 30", I got a star effect.

At f11, 800 iso, 30", I go a blown out effect.

I tried other settings and compensations there of, but nothing to what I was after.

I don't want a moon shifting during the exposure either.

Can anyone advise me, please.

Thanks in advance.
12/24/2007 10:54:28 AM · #2
I think thats way too long exposures. Try f8 and cut down your exposures until you see detail. On my telescope 1/500th is all i need for a full moon. It won`t shift in that time.
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Message edited by author 2007-12-24 10:56:29.
12/24/2007 10:58:54 AM · #3
Shooting the moon and a twilight landscape at the same time places you at opposite ends of the exposure spectrum. When properly exposed for the moon (e.g., very fast shutter), your landscape will barely register. When exposing properly for the landscape (longer shutter), the moon will blow out. Try two exposures and merge in photoshop. Or, try capturing the moon just as it clears the horizon, while its brightness is still attenuated by the atmosphere:

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12/24/2007 11:00:24 AM · #4
Re: not wanting the moon to shift during an exposure.

You don't say what lens you're using, but the moon moves A LOT during 30 seconds. The higher your focal length (e.g., magnification), the more this effect is evident.

Damn the Earth's rotation!
12/24/2007 11:03:26 AM · #5
Shooting at ISO 800 you're throwing away a lot of sharpness trading it for noise. Go back to ISO 100 and start from there (only increase the ISO if other parameters of the equation require you to do so).

Same idea with your aperture.

Anything beyond f/11 and you run into Diffraction issues, which will ruin the sharpness of your image. Your subject is so far away that you don't need a small aperture to get the whole thing in focus. So small apertures aren't solving anything anyway. Generally the "sweet spot" of your lens is going to be around f/8 (depends on the lens, of course, but it's a general rule). So use f/8 for the sharpest image.

That solves the focus issue.

Next ... realize that the moon is just a reflection of the sun's light. So follow the sunny-16 rule. A picture taken in broad daylight is properly exposed at ISO 100 using f/16 at 1/125th of a second (approximately). Adjusting for f/8 instead of f/16 ... we can determine that the proper exposure would be 1/500th of a second. (i.e. ISO 100, f/8, 1/500th)


12/24/2007 11:08:20 AM · #6
keep in mind the moon is lit by direct sun. Assuming the moon is not just above the horizon, you can use the "sunny 16" rule.

For ISO 200, try 1/200 shutter speed at f16. You can adjust from there for more detail allowing for atmospheric conditions and position in the sky.

These were done with double exposures on slide film before the says of photoshop
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The moon was exposed on every frame on the 36 exposure roll of Kodachrome. I marked where the film was loaded and later shot the skylines below the moon. The moon was shot at 1/30 F8 (ISO 25). The skylines were much longer.

Fun stuff that just isn't necessary in the digital age!

12/24/2007 11:17:52 AM · #7
It is quite difficult to get the full moon and all its detail. A full moon is the textbook definition of flat lighting. What lens are you shooting with?

If you have a long focal length lens, try to get the cresent, or shadow edge of the moon. Its also sunrise/sunset on the moon.

From "Astrophotography for the Amateur" by MIchael A. Covington use the following formula to avoid shifting issues:

t (in seconds) = 1000 / F cos(delta)
F = focal length of lens in mm
delta is the DECLINATION of the object in the sky. (DO NOT USE ALTITUDE!)

If you want perfectly crisp images, use 343 instead of 1000

Sorry, thats for the stars, for the moon use:
t = 250/F
You don't need the declination since the moon orbits on an independent axis to RA/DEC.

So, if F is 90-180 use 2 seconds max for critial work, 8 with some blur
180-350 is 1 second for critical, 4 for blur
700-1500 is 0.25 seconds for critical , 2 seconds for blur...etc.

Originally posted by Man_Called_Horse:

....during a long exposure.

I want the full moon and all its detail.

I don't want a moon shifting during the exposure either.

Can anyone advise me, please.

Thanks in advance.
12/24/2007 11:18:40 AM · #8
I used f8 ISO 100 1/340 shutter, manual focus
12/24/2007 11:21:22 AM · #9
Lets say that I am using my widest lens for landscape. Which I am.

Also, lets say that I want to shoot within advanced editing rules in DPC, so using PS will not suffice. There currently are no Expert ruled challenges playing out.

Within these peramaters, would the Sunny 16 guide line work?
12/24/2007 11:24:13 AM · #10
I could give you advice here, but instead I suggest reading how I took this shot within DPC rules in my tutorial:
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12/24/2007 11:32:00 AM · #11
Originally posted by Man_Called_Horse:

Lets say that I am using my widest lens for landscape. Which I am.

...

Within these peramaters, would the Sunny 16 guide line work?


Umm... if you use your widest lens, the moon is just going to be a tiny dot up in the sky. In which case, "details" on the moon don't matter one bit. Expose for the ground or whatever it is that's filling the rest of the frame and forget the sunny-16 rule.
12/24/2007 11:32:03 AM · #12
Originally posted by PGerst:

It is quite difficult to get the full moon and all its detail. A full moon is the textbook definition of flat lighting. What lens are you shooting with?

If you have a long focal length lens, try to get the cresent, or shadow edge of the moon. Its also sunrise/sunset on the moon.

From "Astrophotography for the Amateur" by MIchael A. Covington use the following formula to avoid shifting issues:

t (in seconds) = 1000 / F cos(delta)
F = focal length of lens in mm
delta is the DECLINATION of the object in the sky. (DO NOT USE ALTITUDE!)

If you want perfectly crisp images, use 343 instead of 1000

Sorry, thats for the stars, for the moon use:
t = 250/F
You don't need the declination since the moon orbits on an independent axis to RA/DEC.

So, if F is 90-180 use 2 seconds max for critial work, 8 with some blur
180-350 is 1 second for critical, 4 for blur
700-1500 is 0.25 seconds for critical , 2 seconds for blur...etc.


That's exactly what I was going to say. I just couldn't think of a more complex way of putting it. ;)

Message edited by author 2007-12-24 11:32:45.
12/24/2007 11:32:23 AM · #13
Remember, shadow/highlight is a legal (and very useful) tool.

Originally posted by Man_Called_Horse:

Lets say that I am using my widest lens for landscape. Which I am.

Also, lets say that I want to shoot within advanced editing rules in DPC, so using PS will not suffice. There currently are no Expert ruled challenges playing out.

Within these peramaters, would the Sunny 16 guide line work?
12/24/2007 11:32:44 AM · #14
Originally posted by levyj413:

I could give you advice here, but instead I suggest reading how I took this shot within DPC rules in my tutorial:
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So Jeff, if I read you correctly, the card is passed through the frame left to right? or up and down? exposing the moon temporarily, then re- aiming the lens to another part of your subject?
12/24/2007 11:41:00 AM · #15
Originally posted by Man_Called_Horse:

Originally posted by levyj413:

I could give you advice here, but instead I suggest reading how I took this shot within DPC rules in my tutorial:
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So Jeff, if I read you correctly, the card is passed through the frame left to right? or up and down? exposing the moon temporarily, then re- aiming the lens to another part of your subject?


I went left-to-right, but it really doesn't matter because the moon was the only thing in the frame. The upshot is just to get a small slice of time, so your ultimate conclusion is correct: expose the moon, then re-aim and expose the rest of the frame. Just be careful to keep the lens covered until the camera stops moving completely (I think I counted to 2 or something after the move to be sure all vibration had ended). In my other tutorial, look at the second-to-last image to see what happens if you don't wait long enough.

Now, if you want to do it without moving the camera, you'd probably want to go top-to-bottom or the reverse so you expose only the moon. Then hold the card over the moon but expose the landscape and count off manually. I'm guessing that exact timing won't matter so much (it hasn't in other long night exposures I've done by counting in my head).

But everyone's right about wide angle - you're not going to see any detail in the moon anyway. Unless it's a zoom lens, where you zoom in on the moon for that part, then zoom out for the landscape.
12/24/2007 11:45:28 AM · #16
Originally posted by levyj413:



But everyone's right about wide angle - you're not going to see any detail in the moon anyway. Unless it's a zoom lens, where you zoom in on the moon for that part, then zoom out for the landscape.


Well, I may not get complete detail from a wide lens, but I also won't be getting a blown out, star effect either.

I have seen this trick before, but before today, or this Christmas eve, I haven't seen the need to perform this task.

I am going to give it a try. Gawd willing.

Thanks all for the advice.
12/24/2007 11:49:00 AM · #17
To purposely create a star-effect on the moon, you pick a very small aperture (like f/22). So to avoid it, all you do is pick a much bigger aperture. Again, f/8 is probably a good aperture to use. But if you're shooting wide angle, you can probably get everything you need to have in focus into the focus range with an even wider aperture and thereby minimize the shutter speed.


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