Shooting the super-moon! Tips and techniques.

August 11, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

Photographing the moon can be tricky if you aren't used to shooting at night. Here are some tips and techniques I've learned while photographing the moon.

Don't trust your light meter. When your camera is pointed at the moon, your light meter may give you different readings depending on what focal length you are using. If you want to be able to see details in the moon you want to under expose what your light meter is telling you. If you try to balance your light meter, your moon will be over exposed and blown out. This is because the night sky tricks your camera into thinking it is photographing something black or dark; your camera's computer is trying to compensate for the darkness. Instead, I underexpose my photos and adjust my camera settings until I get the desired exposure I'm looking for.

Use a telescope or telephoto lens when photographing the moon. Many of us don't own a telescope, but there are photographers who have special telescopes that can be adapted to their DSLR. Even generic telescopes can be converted or rigged to adapt to your camera with a little ingenuity. 

I took this photo with a 200mm prime lens attached to a 2x tele-converter. Canon 6D ISO1600 1/1250 sec. f 4.5 (+ 2x tele-converter) 

I had my settings at a high ISO and shutter speed because I was hand holding to take this photo. Use a tripod whenever possible if you plan on shooting the moon or at night. Using a tripod will allow you to focus more accurately and reduce or eliminate camera shake. Using a shutter release or remote is also idea in shooting the moon or at night. 

Avoid high f/stops and long shutter speeds if possible. As the earth rotates and moves, objects in the sky like the moon and stars can have motion blur because your camera is stationary. Many astro-photographers will use tracking systems, rigs and software to correct for global movement.; especially when photographing stars and celestial objects. You can test this out by taking two separate photographs. One photo with a fast shutter (anything less than a second) and then a slower shutter speed (something at 5 secs and up will show motion blur). Make sure your exposure stays consistent by changing your f/stop and/or ISO to match the relative shutter speed you are testing. You will see a difference between the two photos caused by the earth's rotation. 

Keep these things in mind when shooting your moon photos and have fun!

 

Same image as above, cropped.

 

 


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