Thursday, April 7, 2011

Photography Tips: Shoot The Moon 5 Tips from RyukyuMike

This photo of a Full Moon was taken 28SEP2010 at 5:09AM using an 18-250mm lens at a focal length of 250mm. The camera was my Pentax K10D mounted on a tripod and a cable release was used to activate the shutter. Specs:  f/16   1/30   ISO 100

The Crescent Moon photo was snapped on 25JUL2009 at 8:37PM using the same equipment as in the photo above. In this case, I was at a festival and had to snap the shot in a hurry.  The tripod legs were folded, creating a monopod.  With the lens at 250mm, using the cable release the shot was taken with these Specs:  f/11  1/13  ISO 1600.

FIVE TIPS FOR SHOOTING THE MOON:

1.  A sturdy tripod and Cable Release are the ideal camera accessories to use.  However, anything to steady the shot, along with using your camera shutter timer, will do the trick as long as the camera doesn't move.

2.  If possible, get away from people, city lights, traffic, telephone wires and wind.  I have climbed towers, used rooftops and even propped my camera up with rocks on a secluded beach to take moon shots.

3.  The slightest breeze will ruin a shot of the moon, even when you are using a tripod.  The lower the the tripod is, the less effect wind will have on it. Do not raise the center post if you can avoid it. Most quality tripods will have something you can attach weight to at the bottom of the center post. This helps steady the camera.  Remove your camera strap when it's windy outside, or it will shake the camera, even with the best of tripods.

4.  When you shoot the moon, you are creating a high contrast photo.  For high contrast photos, you'll want to stop-down on camera settings. You'll want to deliberately "UNDEREXPOSE" the shots.  I experiment and take plenty.  Underexpose by a full 1, 2, or 3 Exposure Values (EV).

5.  Generally, the lowest ISO setting and an aperture of f/11 is where you'd want to start for taking moon shots.  It doesn't matter if you're looking at a Full, Half, or Crescent Moon. I won't tell you shutter speeds because depending upon clouds, humidity, dust and whatever gets between you and the moon, shutter speeds can be tricky. Just read your lightmeter and underexpose, underexpose, underexpose and before you know it, you'll be shooting the moon like a Pro ! 




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