Lunar (Moon) Photography Guide, by Astrostu

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by astrostu, Dec 6, 2008.

  1. astrostu

    astrostu I shoot for the stars

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    It seems to be something that everyone tries to photograph at one time or another: Earth's closest celestial neighbor, the moon (or Moon, depending on your grammar philosophy). However, there is a lot of confusion floating around on how to properly photograph it. People seem to be confused about whether or not they need a tripod, what kind of aperture to use, how to focus, proper shutter speed, etc.

    Because of this, I have written a 9-page guide on photographing the moon:

    Click Here for PDF
    Guide last updated: April 2, 2010
    Current Version: 2.3 ~ 1 MB

    I am hoping that this will clear up a lot of confusion out there ... and a lot of very bad advice. Although I know that this thread will quickly become buried on this forum, I am hoping that people will find it by using this site's Search feature or that I can simply refer people to this thread in the future.

    Please let me know if you have any comments or questions about the guide, or suggestions for additional content. You can either reply to this thread, send me a PM, or send me an e-mail. I'd really like to hear from you if you've used it successfully or even if you haven't, and what the result was. If you were not successful with this guide, I will personally try to help you (so I can figure out specifically what went wrong and make the guide better for others).

    Please note: I will be updating this guide from time-to-time. When I do, I'll update the "guide last updated" date above as well as add a new post to this thread stating as such for folks who've replied.
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2010
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  2. sambrody44

    sambrody44 TPF Noob!

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    Can we get a sticky on this maybe? If not then I'm subscribed!
     
  3. pugnacious33

    pugnacious33 TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for this, i'll be sure to study it!
     
  4. TwoRails

    TwoRails TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for taking the time and effort, astrostu !!
     
  5. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    astrostu - have you pmed Terri with this - only it could then be added to the tutorials sticky we have on the site already :)
    At least then you can easily link to it when needed (Since nobody ever looks at stickies ;))
     
  6. astrostu

    astrostu I shoot for the stars

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    If you're talking about the Articles of Interest thread, I find that no one reads those anyways, really. I actually wrote a 4-part one on general astrophotography, and it was - to be honest - a real pain in the butt. There was a 10,000-word limit which meant that I had to break the single guide into 4 parts, plus two short "replies" to finish out the part.

    Plus, Terri couldn't actually extract some of the information so I had to do it, which lead to a mistake when removing the privileges from my account that allowed me to post that ended up deleting my account. That's why if you go to those posts I made before around Sept. 1, 2008, it says that it's made by astrostu, a guest, with no other information.

    Also, there's no way to easily update it once it's posted, I'd have to go through Terri again. And I can't format it the way I want because it's basic HTML instead of advanced typesetting.

    In summary ... no. By making it a PDF available for download from my own website, I can update it when I want, I can easily change the formatting, and I can still direct people to this thread, which is what I STILL find myself doing with other astrophotography stuff since they don't read the Articles of Interest.

    Please note that this is not aimed at Terri personally in any way, shape, nor form. It's just something that's inherent in a message board site and she just happens to be the point person in this respect.
     
  7. TamiyaGuy

    TamiyaGuy No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Very nice work there :D. But to be absolutely honest, I seem to get about as good photos as I can get by using spot-metering and autofocusing, and checking to see if everything is as it should be each time. Using a tripod, of course.
     
  8. astrostu

    astrostu I shoot for the stars

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    Alright, folks, the Guide has been updated to version 2.0. Besides some general grammatical changes to the content, I have added a first page that includes a "Purpose of this Guide" and "Some Terms Explained." I also added a Pet Peeve on over-sharpening to the end, and a Summary section as a last page so you don't have to take the whole guide with you.

    I've also added some pictures to this version. I've included a picture of the full moon along with the histogram to illustrate my point there and what the histogram "should" look like. And I added a picture illustrating over-sharpening.

    Enjoy, and let me know if you want any additions or have problems with it.
     
  9. Josh66

    Josh66 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Great guide. Thank you for taking the time to do this, astrostu.
    :thumbup:
     
  10. Vautrin

    Vautrin No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    What about adding something about stacking images for higher resolution using autopano?
     
  11. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Sounds like a disaster waiting to happen. It's hard enough to track an object through the sky as it is without having to line them up when the only points of reference (stars) can move if you don't setup your gear perfectly.

    By the way stacking is a term with a very different meaning used quite extensively in astro photography.
     
  12. astrostu

    astrostu I shoot for the stars

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    I'm not sure Vautrin's talking about actual resolution, where resolution is the number of pixels that have meaningful information. If you are, then Autopano Pro really won't help.

    There is a fundamental limit to how high of a resolution you can get through Earth's atmosphere, with the BEST places on Earth being around 0.5 arcsec (1/3600° = 1 arcsec). This would correspond to a moon that is about 1800 px in diameter, or 25" at 72 ppi. And note that this is for the BEST sites, like on tops of mountains in the dessert with no wind and no humidity.

    Now if by "resolution" you mean signal-to-noise ratio, or to bring out the signal of the moon over the noise inherent in camera electronics, then stacking will help. Averaging two images will reduce the noise by an upper limit of a factor of 1.414 (sqrt(2)). Averaging 9 will reduce the noise by an upper limit of a factor of 3 (sqrt(9)).

    At the moment, though, the Guide is more aimed towards what you need to take the picture, and how to take the picture. It is not really aimed at how to process the pictures.

    However, if there is sufficient interest, I will add this in future versions.

    Oh, and Garbz, AutoPano Pro will automatically align images for you, and it does a very good job of it.
     

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