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Author Topic: shooting the moon  (Read 19491 times)
bobby18301
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« on: September 19, 2005, 06:59:54 AM »
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Does anyone have any tips to give me for shooting a full moon? I know I need to use my tripod but from there I am not sure what shutter speed and what aperature setting to use with my 300 mm lens. I've read most of the stuff on the web and I am still a bit confused.
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howard smith
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« Reply #1 on: September 19, 2005, 07:48:37 AM »
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The moon is illuminated by direct sun light, so f/16 @1/ISO is a good place to start.  The moon near the horizon may need a little extra exposure due to more atmosphere in the light path.

The image size of the moon on the sensor is about the lens focal length in mm divided by 110.

The moon moves pretty fast.  I recall it travels about
1 diameter in 5 minutes.  Use a high shutter speed, even on a tripod.
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bobby18301
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« Reply #2 on: September 19, 2005, 08:54:03 AM »
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why would i have to shoot at f/16? why can't i just shoot wide open f/2.5 since there is no depth of field to contend with...just me and the moon?
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howard smith
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« Reply #3 on: September 19, 2005, 09:02:55 AM »
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The exposure I gave is just the basic exposure.  You can use any equivalent exposure.  In fact, the higher shutter speed associated with f/2.5 would help "stop" the moon's motion.
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pobrien3
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« Reply #4 on: September 19, 2005, 09:24:57 AM »
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Spot meter off it and shoot - bracket if you're not sure. It's bright so a full moon on a clear night undimmed by haze or cloud will be about F/8 at 1 to 1/2 sec at ISO100. An aperture of around f/8 will probably be where your lens performs best (i.e. sharper) rather than wide open. Depth of field isn't the concern.
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howard smith
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« Reply #5 on: September 19, 2005, 10:05:21 AM »
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pobrien3, the exposure you give is about 8 stops greater than the basic daylight.  Could you be giving an exposure for a moonlit landscape instead of the moon iself?

A 1 degree spot meter will read more than the moon (black space around it).  The reading could result in over exposure to make the black space plus the moon average to gray.
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dandill
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« Reply #6 on: September 19, 2005, 10:05:28 AM »
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I have been able to manage exposure, but have found getting tack sharp focus a challenge. It turns out there is a whole technology of getting good focus for moon photos. However, out of five or so shots with 10D + 70-200 f/2.8 IS + 1.4 extender at 200 mm---handheld so that IS can do its thing, I manage to get a good one.
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Dan Dill
jani
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« Reply #7 on: September 19, 2005, 10:16:44 AM »
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I have been able to manage exposure, but have found getting tack sharp focus a challenge. It turns out there is a whole technology of getting good focus for moon photos.
Not only that, but atmospheric disturbances can fool you into thinking that an otherwise tack sharp image isn't. I've had a series of moon photos where there's noticeable difference in sharpness, and that's at 135mm with the 28-135mm IS.

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However, out of five or so shots with 10D + 70-200 f/2.8 IS + 1.4 extender at 200 mm---handheld so that IS can do its thing, I manage to get a good one.
The IS on the 70-200 works on a tripod, too. It even works quite well, in my experience.
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Jan
dandill
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« Reply #8 on: September 19, 2005, 10:21:49 AM »
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The IS on the 70-200 works on a tripod, too. It even works quite well, in my experience.
I didn't know that. I'll surely give it a try.

Dan
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Dan Dill
howard smith
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« Reply #9 on: September 19, 2005, 01:53:12 PM »
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"... sharp focus a challenge."

This seems strange to me.  The moon is essentially at infinity.  Use manual focus and set it to infinity.  Autofocus could have a hard time with a small bright target on a very dark field.

Telescopes do have several focus methods, but a camera should be easy.
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dandill
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« Reply #10 on: September 19, 2005, 06:35:55 PM »
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I think (but am not expert) that the ture "infinity" setting varies, depending on ambient temperature of the lens and perhaps atmospheric disturbances. I use autofocus; my vision is not sharp enough for manual focus.

Dan
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Dan Dill
howard smith
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« Reply #11 on: September 19, 2005, 06:43:30 PM »
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I'm not an expert either, but all of the atmospheric conditions that disturb moon shots are largely present for long terrestial shots.  Most of the atmosphere is here on earth.

You don't need great eyesight (and I don't have it either) to switch to manual and rotate the lens to the stop.

I suppose focus is affected to some degree by the space vacuum and atmosphere interface.  The depth of field at infinity even at f/2.8 on a 300mm lens is huge.
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dandill
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« Reply #12 on: September 19, 2005, 06:52:42 PM »
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... switch to manual and rotate the lens to the stop.
I'll give that a try, on a tripod.  Thanks.
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Dan Dill
pobrien3
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« Reply #13 on: September 19, 2005, 07:13:56 PM »
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pobrien3, the exposure you give is about 8 stops greater than the basic daylight.  Could you be giving an exposure for a moonlit landscape instead of the moon iself?

A 1 degree spot meter will read more than the moon (black space around it).  The reading could result in over exposure to make the black space plus the moon average to gray.
We had a full moon when I read this post so I stuck a 300mm lens on my camera, went outside and took a spot reading, and got a slightly overexposed shot at the settings I gave. Easily adjusted in ACR though as no pixels were blown out.

I got the same reading on my camera and on a Sekonic meter set to spot.
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powerplay
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« Reply #14 on: September 20, 2005, 01:03:02 PM »
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I use this usefull little tool as a guide when shooting the moon.

Try it out

Just click on current moon phase and voila it gives you correct exposure values to use. It will even advise you if the image may be over exposed or underexposed if you change any of the parameters.

Pretty handy little tool
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howard smith
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« Reply #15 on: September 20, 2005, 01:32:54 PM »
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I didn't see a link.

I am also curious about the large exposure differences I see and what pobrien3 gets.  pobrien3, is the moon a white without detail disc or can you see details.  With a 300mm lens, the moon is a 2.75mm disc on the sensor.  This may be too small to show blown highlights.
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jani
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« Reply #16 on: September 20, 2005, 02:11:01 PM »
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I am also curious about the large exposure differences I see and what pobrien3 gets.  pobrien3, is the moon a white without detail disc or can you see details.  With a 300mm lens, the moon is a 2.75mm disc on the sensor.  This may be too small to show blown highlights.
I'm also curious about the exposure differential.

Take this image, for instance (I know it's not very good, but never mind that):


Canon EOS 20D, 28-135mm IS @f/5.6, 1/200s at ISO 100, 100% pixel-for-pixel crop.

The Moon was almost as high on the sky as it gets in January.

I don't see how it's possible to get a decent full moon picture at f/8 and 1/10s, that's over four stops more than for the image above. And I even think I used a polarizer.
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Jan
howard smith
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« Reply #17 on: September 20, 2005, 02:33:17 PM »
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Jan, your image looks pretty well exposed.  The exposure you give is basic daylight plus 2 stops.  A polarizer, if used, would bring that to about BDE+1/2 stop.  A half stop less exposure would seem good also.

Your results are similar to mine.
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Gordon Buck
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« Reply #18 on: September 20, 2005, 09:11:59 PM »
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Although the "Sunny 16" rule makes perfectly good sense, in my experience, when photographing the moon, it is better to open up about two stops.  That is, shoot the moon at "Moony 8" and 1/ISO for the shutter speed.  (And bracket exposure while wearing both belt and suspenders.)
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jani
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« Reply #19 on: September 21, 2005, 01:51:54 AM »
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(And bracket exposure while wearing both belt and suspenders.)
Ouch, I knew I'd forgotten something.
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Jan
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