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DPChallenge Forums >> Tips, Tricks, and Q&A >> can't get a picture of the moon
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02/21/2008 11:08:15 PM · #1
Never been able to take a great moon shot, but here is one taken tonight (hand held). Not the greatest but as I said, I have never been able to take a great moon shot.

The settings are detailed in the image.

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Message edited by author 2008-02-21 23:10:36.
02/21/2008 10:47:05 PM · #2
Originally posted by Arcanist:

The biggest hurdle to taking a great moon shot is to remember that unlike star photography which can handle 5-30 second exposure times and yield marginally static points of light, the moon is far closer to our planet and screaming across the sky so fast that even a 3-4 second exposure on a tripod will yield blur. (Unless of course you have one o dem fancy auto trackin telescope tripods, but I suspect most of us don't).

Up your ISO, keep your aperture between 7.1 and 16 and shoot as fast as you can on a spot metered slice o cheese. And don't forget that handholding a zoom means you need to also shoot fast enough to overcome the shake at the highest power magnification.


So that is why my shots in the later eclipse phase were OOF. I used a tripod and mirror lock up and still had blur. Should of bumped ISO to get a faaster shutter. By full eclipse at ISO 100, F8 I ended up with 10 sec exposure.

Thanks for the tip. Now I have to wait till 2010 for the next chance!
02/21/2008 10:35:44 PM · #3
It's been my experience that my best moon shots are at widest aperture, with the moon centered, where the sharpness is best with most lenses, and highest shutter speed that gives a good image without any blowouts. I use the LCD "overexposed area blinkies" to adjust the shutter speed when shooting, and lighten the shot some in post processing if necessary.
For the eclipse, I wanted detail and color in the dark area near totality, so I exposed for that area, and let the bright sliver overexpose. It's rare to be able to get detail in both the bright and the dark part of the moon without resorting to some serious HDR editing. The best time to try that is right at moon set, or moonrise on "new moon" nights or mornings when the moon is right close to the sun in the sky. The bright sliver will still be overexposed, but the rest of the moon looks a lot like an eclipse.
Here are a few examples, processed with basic editing steps only.
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02/21/2008 10:32:00 PM · #4
The biggest hurdle to taking a great moon shot is to remember that unlike star photography which can handle 5-30 second exposure times and yield marginally static points of light, the moon is far closer to our planet and screaming across the sky so fast that even a 3-4 second exposure on a tripod will yield blur. (Unless of course you have one o dem fancy auto trackin telescope tripods, but I suspect most of us don't).

Up your ISO, keep your aperture between 7.1 and 16 and shoot as fast as you can on a spot metered slice o cheese. And don't forget that handholding a zoom means you need to also shoot fast enough to overcome the shake at the highest power magnification.
02/21/2008 09:46:27 PM · #5
Moon Exposure Calculator
02/21/2008 09:28:14 PM · #6
Since the moon is light by the sun and is set normally against a dark background (space) the rule of sunny 16's will often give you close to a good exposure. This rule basically says, set you aperture at f/16 and set your exposure as close as your camera will allow you to the ISO. EG: F/16 at ISO 100 equals an exposure of 1/100 second...
02/21/2008 09:19:03 PM · #7
I ahve a really simple camera & read up on the different settings. I used Night Sky setting with a 10 second timer. Set my tripod in a snow bank and had mixed results.
Part of it was I could see the cold air pushing through the area. (it was 5 degrees @ times)Even to the naked eye I had an unusual ring that blurred the moon.

Out of 55 shots I took, 7 were ok & 2 were good.
02/21/2008 09:08:36 PM · #8
I had problems too. Varied a lot of things too. Two or three years ago - Nov. 05 I think - they weren't too bad. Thing is they, this time, looked fine on the camera lcd. The only one I'm keeping is the first one, before the eclipse really got underway and the moon was big and bright and low, but it looks like a multiple exposure because I was still adjusting the tripod and everything else and accidentally pressed the shutter.
02/21/2008 08:55:52 PM · #9
Originally posted by 4ROGGYCHEF:

have the super long lense --- can see the moon really good up close-- take the shot and it's too dark or whatever-- even tried the speedlight

Either I am retarded and its something simple -- or its ever elusive and I will be one of many who can't ever get a good shot of the moon.

Do I need even more really expensive equip ???

It sounds like I had the some problems as you did last night.
Here are some I took. I was trying to do a before during and after of the eclipse, but the ones I took during did not turn out at all, so I scrapped the after.
Do you think maybe it had something to do with the eclipse?
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02/21/2008 08:43:54 PM · #10
Originally posted by 4ROGGYCHEF:

have the super long lense --- can see the moon really good up close-- take the shot and it's too dark or whatever-- even tried the speedlight

Either I am retarded and its something simple -- or its ever elusive and I will be one of many who can't ever get a good shot of the moon.

Do I need even more really expensive equip ???


Just remember that the moon is a sunlit object so you can use the Sunny f16 rule to determine exposure.
02/21/2008 08:34:59 PM · #11
if you are trying to take a picture of an ordinary moon, not an eclipsed one, it is just like taking a picture of the sun! the moon is very bright compared to the rest of the sky. these shots are just like taking a picture in bright sunlight. start with the rule of Sunny 16. At an ISO of X, and at f16, the shutter speed is 1/X. In other words, at ISO 100, f16, try 1/100 sec. that should get you in the right ballpark. you can adjust f-stop if you like, just remember to increase shutter speed. at ISO 100, f16, 1/100 sec is the same as ISO 100, f11, 1/200, etc.
02/21/2008 08:33:39 PM · #12
Had a quick hunt and this website should tell you everything you need to know about taking shots of the moon.

//home.hiwaay.net/~krcool/Astro/moon/howtophoto/index.htm

Hope it all works out for you! Look forward to seeing some of your shots!

Simon
02/21/2008 08:31:17 PM · #13
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I took this one a while back. Handheld. Here's the Exif from it

Exposure: 0.01 sec (1/100)
Aperture: f/4.5
Focal Length: 150 mm
ISO Speed: 400
Exposure Bias: 0/10 EV

There's is a rule about taking photos of the moon, and i'm damned if I can remember what it is. but usually using the a fast shutter speed NOT a slow one is best. If I can remember the rule i'll post it up at some point.
02/21/2008 08:29:34 PM · #14
[thumb]649262[/thumb]

I used 1.2000 on this shot, i played up and down the scale, when it was full brightness it came out better at 1.1000 and 1.2000
02/21/2008 08:28:21 PM · #15
Try shooting it in the daytime, and when you get a nice looking result in the LCD, use the same settings in manual mode at night. (iso, f#, shutter speed)
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Message edited by author 2008-02-21 20:33:58.
02/21/2008 08:03:18 PM · #16
Originally posted by Nullix:

What settings are you using?

Use manual mode and set to wide open aparature and something like 1 second. If that doesn't work, change it to 2 seconds. If that doesn't work, change it to 5 seconds and on and on until you get a good shot.

Also, check out A Short Introduction To Night Photography.


actually, remember that the moon is a sun-lit object. 1-2 seconds is far too long of an exposure. expose it like you would a sun-lit object, 1/500 - 1/250th of a second.
02/21/2008 08:01:01 PM · #17
I'm no expert, but I'm pretty content with my moon shots from a couple months ago (missed the eclipse, I was watching Heart perform!). Here is a link to my exif info for the shot below

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02/21/2008 12:35:13 AM · #18
This is one I took tonight .. I used my 75-300mm IS lens, settings were ISO 100, Shutter 0.8, Aperture F5.6 and Focal Length was 140mm ... hope this helps.

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02/20/2008 11:52:42 PM · #19
What settings are you using?

Use manual mode and set to wide open aparature and something like 1 second. If that doesn't work, change it to 2 seconds. If that doesn't work, change it to 5 seconds and on and on until you get a good shot.

Also, check out A Short Introduction To Night Photography.
02/20/2008 11:34:25 PM · #20
have the super long lense --- can see the moon really good up close-- take the shot and it's too dark or whatever-- even tried the speedlight

Either I am retarded and its something simple -- or its ever elusive and I will be one of many who can't ever get a good shot of the moon.

Do I need even more really expensive equip ???
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