Sunday, January 9, 2011

Shooting the Moon

Today's Photo - The Moon

Since there isn't much happening with the planning for my trailer or trip, I decided to do a page on photography.

Many of us has seen beautiful moons in our travels, but have been disappointed in the results when trying to photograph it.
Overexposed Moon
This is what you will often end up with if your camera is set to program or automatic exposure.  The problem is the moon is very bright while the background is very dark, The camera "averages" them together & the result is an over exposed moon.  

The solution is to use manual exposure.  Almost all cameras can have their aperture & shutter speed set to manual.  The next time you want to take a photograph of the moon, try this:
  1. Set your ISO to the lowest value possible.  Typically, this will be 100.
  2. Set your aperture to f: 16.
  3. Use the "Sunny 16" rule to determine your shutter speed.  The Sunny 16 rule is used to estimate exposure for bright sunlight.  According to the rule, when the aperture is f: 16, the correct shutter speed will be the ISO of the camera.  Although you are shooting your photograph in the dark, the light coming from the moon is reflected sunlight - it is quite bright. So, if your ISO is 100, choose the shutter speed as close to 100th of a second as possible.
  4. Although a tripod will help, if your shutter speed is over 100th of a second & you are reasonably steady, and don't have a real long focal length lens (over 200mm or say 15X) you can probably get away with a hand held shot.
  5. Even with a tripod, if your exposure ends up longer than a couple of seconds, the moon will move far enough during that time to blur the image.  To make long exposures you will need a astronomical mount that is capable of tracking. 
  6. You don't need to wait for a full moon - you will often have more interesting images when you can view the terminator of the moon because it accents the mountains & valleys.
Moon, Showing Terminator
So, the next time you have a clear night, get out your camera & "Shoot the Moon!"

Please let me know if you are interested in more hints & helps for photography - I won't always have something to blog about dealing with my trip!

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