Monday, October 25, 2010

Shooting the Moon

In a post at the start of this year I showed my failed attempt at photographing the Moon. Using the default settings the exposure was ludicrously long, leaving the heavenly sphere little more than a white circle.

However knowing that this evening the Moon would be both visible and the skies clear I did a bit of Googling and came up with this great article on top tips, first of course to manually set the exposure.

And after a couple of cycles of go-out-get-cold-come-in-check-pic I ended up with the above, which is a lot better!

For those wanting technical details it was my venerable and soon to be replaced Canon 350D together with Sigma 70 - 300 mm lens, 400 ASA, 1/1250 sec exposure F/5.6.

8 comments:

O Docker said...

Very nice!

Haven't checked your link yet, and it probably points this out, but most people don't realize just how quickly a celestial object moves across the field at high magnification, necessitating a very short exposure to 'freeze' the elusive quarry.

Tillerman said...

Very nice!

Have checked your link, and was pleased to see that it points out that some people think that a celestial object moves quickly across the field at high magnification, necessitating a very short exposure to 'freeze' the elusive quarry.

However the link (which I did check) points out that the Moon's apparent motion (about 360 degrees per day, or 1/4 of a degree per minute, or one Moon diameter per two minutes) is much too slow to be a concern at the shutter speeds we're talking about. For example, with the Moon diameter being about 1200 pixels in a typical picture, we would need to expose at about 1/10 s to get a one-pixel motion blur. And this is with a 1600 mm effective focal length, and an eight-megapixel image size!

The World Tour said...

Impressive one.

Baydog said...

Huh?

O Docker said...

O geez, how do I get drawn into these things?

Conventional wisdom holds that you need at least 1/60th second to stop the moon's motion (which sort of agrees with what TMan quotes, with a little safety factor). But many try 1-2 second time exposures and end up with blurry photos. (Most cameras will do that set to 'Automatic' unless you really zoom in on the moon.)

Other factors make shutter speeds faster than 1/60th a good idea (and I think you've already mentioned these, JP, in earlier posts):

- The moon's in direct sunlight, so usually requires a fast shutter speed for proper exposure. This isn't always obvious to a photog standing someplace that's in the middle of the night.

- Most tripods that don't cost a bundle still allow some fine vibration. That usually goes unnoticed unless you're using the extreme magnification required to get a tight shot of the moon.

Do I still have time to enter this in the 'Most Boring Comment' contest?

Quentin Sarsaparilla said...

O Docker I haven't read your second comment yet, and it probably points this out, but most people don't realize just how quickly a bored reader will skip over every comment to a blog post, necessitating a very short comment length to 'freeze' the attention of the elusive reader.

my2fish said...

JP - nice improvement over the one earlier this year. spending an evening outside photographing the moon sounds much more appealing in October than January (at least to me). I got lost in the last few comments, but still need to make it a priority to hook my DSLR up to my dad's telescope - I'd love to get some really close shots of the moon on a night like this.

JP said...

Thanks my2fish! Looking forward to seeing your shots of the moon.

I have someone a telescope but its old, wobbles a lot and have no idea how to mount my camera on to it.

I might however get it out and do a bit of peering at craters one evening.