Luminous Landscape Forum

Equipment & Techniques => Landscape & Nature Photography => Topic started by: bobby18301 on September 19, 2005, 07:59:54 AM

Title: shooting the moon
Post by: bobby18301 on September 19, 2005, 07:59:54 AM
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.
Title: shooting the moon
Post by: howard smith on September 19, 2005, 08:48:37 AM
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.
Title: shooting the moon
Post by: bobby18301 on September 19, 2005, 09:54:03 AM
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?
Title: shooting the moon
Post by: howard smith on September 19, 2005, 10:02:55 AM
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.
Title: shooting the moon
Post by: pobrien3 on September 19, 2005, 10:24:57 AM
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.
Title: shooting the moon
Post by: howard smith on September 19, 2005, 11:05:21 AM
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.
Title: shooting the moon
Post by: dandill on September 19, 2005, 11:05:28 AM
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.
Title: shooting the moon
Post by: jani on September 19, 2005, 11:16:44 AM
Quote
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.

Quote
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.
Title: shooting the moon
Post by: dandill on September 19, 2005, 11:21:49 AM
Quote
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
Title: shooting the moon
Post by: howard smith on September 19, 2005, 02:53:12 PM
"... 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.
Title: shooting the moon
Post by: dandill on September 19, 2005, 07:35:55 PM
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
Title: shooting the moon
Post by: howard smith on September 19, 2005, 07:43:30 PM
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.
Title: shooting the moon
Post by: dandill on September 19, 2005, 07:52:42 PM
Quote
... switch to manual and rotate the lens to the stop.
I'll give that a try, on a tripod.  Thanks.
Title: shooting the moon
Post by: pobrien3 on September 19, 2005, 08:13:56 PM
Quote
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.
Title: shooting the moon
Post by: powerplay on September 20, 2005, 02:03:02 PM
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
Title: shooting the moon
Post by: howard smith on September 20, 2005, 02:32:54 PM
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.
Title: shooting the moon
Post by: jani on September 20, 2005, 03:11:01 PM
Quote
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):

(http://folk.uio.no/jani/hobbies/photo/nightshots/crops/IMG_0684-copy.jpg)
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.
Title: shooting the moon
Post by: howard smith on September 20, 2005, 03:33:17 PM
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.
Title: shooting the moon
Post by: Gordon Buck on September 20, 2005, 10:11:59 PM
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.)
Title: shooting the moon
Post by: jani on September 21, 2005, 02:51:54 AM
Quote
(And bracket exposure while wearing both belt and suspenders.)
Ouch, I knew I'd forgotten something.
Title: shooting the moon
Post by: howard smith on September 21, 2005, 06:17:44 AM
Jan, if you didn't use a polarizer, your exposure is "Moony/8."  It appears that Sunny/16 + 8 stops would be a white disc.  If the image size is small, maybe a lack of detail might not be noticed.
Title: shooting the moon
Post by: jani on September 21, 2005, 06:27:33 AM
Quote
Jan, if you didn't use a polarizer, your exposure is "Moony/8."  It appears that Sunny/16 + 8 stops would be a white disc.  If the image size is small, maybe a lack of detail might not be noticed.
Unfortunately, I have no recollection of what I used for that exact shot. I know that some of the images I took of the Moon in January/February were with a polarizer, but I stupidly forgot to take a note of that.
Title: shooting the moon
Post by: rags on September 21, 2005, 11:59:37 AM
Even though the moon is essentially at infinity keeping the lens at infinity doesn't seem to give a sharp image. I say this from my exprience last weekend and to see a sharp image in the viewfinder I have to rotate the focus ring very slightly away from infinity!
Title: shooting the moon
Post by: howard smith on September 21, 2005, 12:26:00 PM
Perhaps the focus issue of the moon is due to the air-vacuum interface not present in teresterial photos or an infinity error in the lens.  If nothing else, we can all agree that the moon is at photographic infinity.
Title: shooting the moon
Post by: dandill on September 21, 2005, 12:55:18 PM
I have found Focusing for Astrophotography (http://www.astropix.com/HTML/I_ASTROP/I08/I08.HTM) helpful.

Dan
Title: shooting the moon
Post by: Jonathan Wienke on September 21, 2005, 01:18:38 PM
Quote
I say this from my exprience last weekend and to see a sharp image in the viewfinder I have to rotate the focus ring very slightly away from infinity!
That's due to the fact that many lenses (all Canon-brand glass that I've seen or tried) allows the focus ring to mechanically travel a little past the infinity focus position. This allows compensation to be made for factors that affect infinity focus position like temperature (and the resulting expansion & contraction), barometric pressure (which makes corresponding changes in air density) an other physical factors that can affect the precise position of exact infinity focus.
Title: shooting the moon
Post by: howard smith on September 21, 2005, 01:36:21 PM
That ought to do it.  "Infinity" isn't infinity but a little past infinity.  I couldn't resist.
Title: shooting the moon
Post by: Anon E. Mouse on September 21, 2005, 08:46:39 PM
The atmoshere does not cause a shift in focus. The moon will alway be at infinity. The atmoshere can distort the image of the moon at the horizon (flattening), but apparent size of the moon is the same no matter its position above the horizon. Turbulence in the atmoshere will also shift the image of the moon causing soft, blurred details. It is posible to stack multiple short exposures to reduce the affects of turbulance with progams like Registax. This is a common technique in astrophotography.

The moon is a bright object and can be visible at almost any time of day. However, exposures can vary with the phase of the moon and its relative position above the horizon.
Title: shooting the moon
Post by: Buddy Thomason on September 23, 2005, 07:09:18 PM
I too love to 'shoot the moon.'  I have learned that I must use a shutter speed of 1/15 or faster.  I have also learned that on different nights, though the eye cannot tell a difference, there is a large variation in clarity of atmosphere - astrophotographers and astronomers know this.  As a result I try to be prepared to capture different sorts of images as illustrated below:  
1) Very clear (to the camera) night (blue fringing is my error in post-processing).
http://www.fototime.com/219C138DFEB9C38/orig.jpg (http://www.fototime.com/219C138DFEB9C38/orig.jpg)  
2) Looked clear but the camera said not, so I opted to over-expose the moon itself and get the clouds around it as it began to rise above horizon.  
http://www.fototime.com/B67FD93BDD3141C/orig.jpg (http://www.fototime.com/B67FD93BDD3141C/orig.jpg)  
http://www.fototime.com/B8F981617DB3FF9/orig.jpg (http://www.fototime.com/B8F981617DB3FF9/orig.jpg)  
3)  Sometimes I'm just happy to stand in the back yard and experiment.  
http://www.fototime.com/DEC922845EDD524/orig.jpg (http://www.fototime.com/DEC922845EDD524/orig.jpg)  
4)  Sometimes I can even find a use for poor shots of the moon if they have a virtue I can use in, for example, CD jewell-case cover art for sharing with friends (ie not for publication)  
http://www.fototime.com/EB99DCFFA1A0F5E/orig.jpg (http://www.fototime.com/EB99DCFFA1A0F5E/orig.jpg)  

And finally I have learned that, at least for my dyslexic self, instead of trying to remember pat formulas for lunar exposure I just start firing away, checking my LCD screen for histogram and focus, adjusting shutter speed, aperture and/or ISO as needed until I start closing in on something that looks good.  

As mentioned above, I have given up trying to use autofocus.  It's manual exposure, manual focus (to just a little shy of infinity), tripod, mirror lock-up, 2 sec delay and cable release all the way for me.

The Canon 500 f4.0 L with 1.4 extender and my 1D MKII, appropriately mounted  on top of my tripod with carbon fiber legs is the cat's meow set-up as far as I can tell.  The backyard shot above that's obviously way compensated was captured with the same camera and tripod but with the Canon 70-200 f2.8 L zoom.  

Shooting the moon, because of its unique challenges, has taught me some good stuff and given me more confidence in other wierd situations.  

Happy exposures!
Title: shooting the moon
Post by: Lin Evans on September 28, 2005, 07:36:33 PM
ISO 100 - F14 - 1/50 sec

Lin

(http://www.lin-evans.net/recent/meaded30.jpg)
Title: shooting the moon
Post by: Anon E. Mouse on September 28, 2005, 07:49:37 PM
Lin, what did you use to take that?
Title: shooting the moon
Post by: Lin Evans on September 28, 2005, 08:25:44 PM
Quote
Lin, what did you use to take that?
Hi Anon,

A Canon D30 using a Meade ETX-90 celestial mirror (scope) which has a fixed F14 aperture and 1250mm focal length. With the 1.6x reduced FOV of the D30 it's a 2000mm FOV equivalency.

Best regards,

Lin
Title: shooting the moon
Post by: Anon E. Mouse on September 28, 2005, 08:31:20 PM
Excellent. It is amazing what you can do with these small Maksutov Cassegrain telescopes. That must have been a great night. The seeing where I live is awful most of the time.
Title: shooting the moon
Post by: Lin Evans on September 28, 2005, 08:47:07 PM
Quote
Excellent. It is amazing what you can do with these small Maksutov Cassegrain telescopes. That must have been a great night. The seeing where I live is awful most of the time.
Yes, here in Colorado in the winter we have some good atmospheric conditions on clear nights. The Meade works well for "digiscoping" either for moon/planets or for terrestrial purposes though I frequently use my Swarovski ST-80HD as a lens as well. The moon is always a fun target and a challenge at times. I've always admired photographers who can capture a good "moonscape" and get both the terrestrial details and the moon both in proper exposure. The only way I've ever managed to do it justice is by shooting two frames RAW without moving the camera, exposing one for the moon and one for the earth then combining the two in PhotoShop. Ansel did it well with "Moonrise, Hernandez New Mexico" but the shot was actually taken during daylight hours and then he dodged, burned and used chemical intensifiers to get everything looking like a late evening shot. The problem is that if you expose long enough at night to get the terrestrial details right then the moon is way overexposed. If you expose for the moon you have to deal with trying to pull details from deep shadows - not an easy task...

Lin
Title: shooting the moon
Post by: dandill on September 28, 2005, 09:02:18 PM
Hi Lin.

Can you give details of how you used the D30 with the telescope? Attachment? Focus?

Thanks
Dan
Title: shooting the moon
Post by: Lin Evans on September 28, 2005, 09:55:02 PM
Quote
Hi Lin.

Can you give details of how you used the D30 with the telescope? Attachment? Focus?

Thanks
Dan
Hi Dan,

Meade has a dedicated camera port which accepts a Meade "T" adapter which in turn accepts a standard Canon "T" connector so that the camera body is directly connected to the scope. No electronic communication then is possible between the "lens" and camera body so that all settings must be made manually. The Meade has a "flip" switch which transfers the view from the eyepiece to the camera port so that looking through the viewfinder on the camera allows the photographer to see the subject. Focus is accomplished with the same focus knob as used to focus the telescope. Once focus has been set the Canon remote release is used to first lock up the mirror, then after approximately a four second period for damping vibrations the second press of the remote release trips the shutter. Because the Meade has motorized tracking the moon is still within the proper frame and the capture is made.

Best regards,

Lin
Title: shooting the moon
Post by: dandill on September 29, 2005, 11:04:15 AM
Quote
Focus is accomplished with the same focus knob as used to focus the telescope.
Is any focusing of the camera necessary? Or do you set it to infinity and then fine tune with the Meade focus?
Title: shooting the moon
Post by: howard smith on September 29, 2005, 12:33:56 PM
I have been looking around at Moon photos.  Many are over exposed.  The moon appears brighter than it really is because it is the brightest thing around at night.  The moon is gray than many images show.  I still like sunny/16 with perhaps a little extra exposure for atmospheric effects.
Title: shooting the moon
Post by: Lin Evans on September 29, 2005, 05:26:23 PM
Quote
Quote
Focus is accomplished with the same focus knob as used to focus the telescope.
Is any focusing of the camera necessary? Or do you set it to infinity and then fine tune with the Meade focus?
You can't set it to "infinity" because there is no lens other than the telescope. The "T" connector attaches to the camera body on one side and to the Meade "T" adapter which is attached to the scope on the other side. The camera's lens with an SLR or dSLR has been removed and replaced by the telescope.

If you are using a fixed lens digicam and shooting through a telescope eyepiece, then you would first adjust the focus on the scope, then on the camera then again on the scope and again on the camera until you had the best focus possible. This is called an "afocal" connection.

Best regards,

Lin
Title: shooting the moon
Post by: dandill on September 29, 2005, 05:45:50 PM
Quote
The camera's lens with an SLR or dSLR has been removed and replaced by the telescope.
Got it! Thanks again.

Dan
Title: shooting the moon
Post by: samirkharusi on September 30, 2005, 05:10:28 AM
Step by step instructions for astro-type photos:
1. Choose a time when the Moon is highest (nearest zenith). This is to get the least atmospheric muck in the way. Makes a huge difference with focal lengths > 1000mm.
2. Use a loooong lens plus as heavy a tripod as you can lay your hands on. To fill the frame on full-format 35mm with the Moon disc requires 2000mm focal length, 1250mm for APS, etc.
3. If you are focusing manually, then you have to make several attempts. Focus, grab a few frames, refocus, grab another bunch, etc. Invariably one will be sharper than the rest. If you are using a Canon lens with a focal length > 100mm you'll probably be best off using autofocus with the cenral focus spot only. I found this to work very reliably, even with stacked tele-extenders when Canon says it should not.
4. Exposure. Most tripods are too flimsy for looong focal lengths. Use high ISO and high shutter speed. Your lens needs to be closed down only to get to its optimum aperture since depth of field is irrelevant. After you have success at high ISO you can venture into lowering ISO to a level that your tripod can handle. Mirror pre-release is of course assumed. If shooting digital you can easily figure out exposure from the histogram. If shooting film use the Sunny-16 rule as a start and bracket in half stops to longer exposures. Some mirror lenses/scopes lose a lot of light, requiring opening up a stop or even more. If the Moon is at 50% phase (Half Moon) double the exposure for Sunny-16, Quarter Phase requires quadruple Sunny-16, etc. With bracketing for exposure and "bracketing" for focus do not expect more than one decent shot from a 35mm roll. Here is an autofocused bunch of crops using a Canon 600mm f4 lens wide open with extenders (yes, extenders do work very well, despite the nasty rumours you may have heard):(http://www.pbase.com/samirkharusi/image/28775339/original.jpg)
The crop at 1680mm is at 1:1 (100%), the one at 600mm is at 280%, etc.
Title: shooting the moon
Post by: wjy on November 29, 2005, 06:47:40 PM
Bobby 18301,
I have had good luck shooting at dusk rather than at full darkness.  When the sky is black the moon tends to be seriously over exposed.  I shot this one with a 300 2.8 and 2x teleconverter with IS on.  I used the RAW converter to darkn the sky to black and help the craters show up better.  I had IS on and I under exposed a 3rd of a stop to help the moon from being too blown out.  I don't remember the exposure, but it was not a long one as I was only using my truck door as support.  I could go find the data if you would like.

Here is the photo.

(http://www.billyyunck.com/galleries/misc/images/sliver.jpg)
Title: shooting the moon
Post by: Anon E. Mouse on November 29, 2005, 07:59:05 PM
Quote
When the sky is black the moon tends to be seriously over exposed.

That is simply a problem with your exposure. I assume you are using your camera meter. I would not bother. I would take some test images and use the histogram to find the best exposure - the sunny 16 rule is a good start. You should be able to get all the detail from the limb to the terminator with the right exposure.
Title: shooting the moon
Post by: wjy on November 29, 2005, 08:33:37 PM
Quote
That is simply a problem with your exposure. I assume you are using your camera meter. I would not bother. I would take some test images and use the histogram to find the best exposure - the sunny 16 rule is a good start. You should be able to get all the detail from the limb to the terminator with the right exposure.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=52449\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Anon,
Of course you are correct, but at least with my 20d, if I underexposed the sky as to get a perfect exposure on the moon, I would end up with some fairly ugly digital noise in the sky area.  It is helpful if you can catch the shot when the sky and the moon are a little closer to the same exposure.  Thanks for the tips however.
Title: shooting the moon
Post by: Anon E. Mouse on November 29, 2005, 11:20:54 PM
wjy, why would you get noise underexposing the black sky? Wouldn't you get more noise by overexposing it?
Title: shooting the moon
Post by: DarkPenguin on November 29, 2005, 11:23:52 PM
Digital likes to show more noise in underexposed areas.  Of course if you want the sky black that isn't an issue.  Just yank the left side of the levels control over and away you go.

But if you don't do that there tends to be banding.  (At least with my 20D.)
Title: shooting the moon
Post by: wjy on November 30, 2005, 02:20:46 PM
Anon,
The evil arctic bird speaks the truth, at least when using a 20d, not sure about underexposure noise in Canon's more professional cameras.
Title: shooting the moon
Post by: astronut on June 08, 2007, 05:24:33 PM
Quote
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.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=49059\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

The easiest way i know of to shoot a full moon is to shoot it a day before it becomes full, if you want to include it in a photograph. The day before it is full, the exposure for the moon is the same as for the sky at or shortly after moonrise.
Title: shooting the moon
Post by: marcmccalmont on June 08, 2007, 09:11:37 PM
The moon looks big to the eye but really is small. I found a good telescope between 1500mm and 2500mm (2 halves stitched) works best. I always have to fight the wind so a higher ISO and quicker shutter works for me.
2500mm F8, 1/400sec, ISO 640
Marc
[attachment=2616:attachment]
Title: shooting the moon
Post by: Ray on June 09, 2007, 12:19:14 PM
Can't resist. Hand-held at 1/250th, f11, ISO 400, 20D, 100-400 IS zoom at 400mm plus 1.4x extender (560mm x 1.6 factor = 900mm).

This shot was a mistake. It's underexposed by about one stop. I should have used ISO 800 with the same exposure. There would have been less noise in the mid-tones. The sunny 16 rule would have produced an even worse underexposure. Ie., 1/ISO at f16 would have been in this case 1/800th at f11 and ISO 400.

It was necessary to use f11 with this lens for sharpest results. Without the extender f8 would have been fine.

[attachment=2617:attachment]
Title: shooting the moon
Post by: Ray on June 09, 2007, 01:06:00 PM
Hhmm! I'm beginning to think this underexposed hand-held shot with an el cheapo zoom is stacking up quite well against Samir's shot at f4 with the very expensive 600mm prime and presumably tripod. There's clearly some unwanted noise in my shot. Underexposure at high ISOs is disastrous for noise, but detail seems very similar. It's probably just an illusion   .

[attachment=2618:attachment]