Shooting the Moon

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by mudthirsty, Jul 14, 2008.

  1. mudthirsty

    mudthirsty TPF Noob!

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    A few months ago I was shooting the moon, and i thought they turned out pretty good. Last night I tried to shoot the moon again with clouds going by. But all I kept getting was a bright shining moon, instead of it being crisp. Even with different shutter speeds. What's the best setting for shooting the moon? Here's my first pic.

    [​IMG]
     
  2. randerson07

    randerson07 TPF Noob!

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    You have to shoot the moon in Manual. Its alot brighter than your camera thinks.

    When Hand Holding(I dont own a tripod) I usually start with a Shutter speed around 125 and aperture around 8.

    If I had a tripod I would bump the aperture to something like 11 or 16 and drop the shutter speed to 25 or so.

    These are all handheld, and if your curious the Shot data is stored on Flickr.
    http://www.flickr.com/search/?q=moon&w=82308981@N00
    This one is my person favorite
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/randerson07/2479058069/meta/
     
  3. Moglex

    Moglex TPF Noob!

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    I remember a question I read in a photgraphic book from before the time when even hand-held meters were commonplace.

    Q: What is the correct exposure for the moon.
    A: The same as for any other sunlit landscape.
     
  4. icassell

    icassell TPF Noob!

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    Remember, you're not shooting the dark sky. You're basically shooting the reflection of the sun. Exposure times should be short with small aperture. No need for high ISO. I use aperture priority (not manual) and my 30D does OK with it. It also seems to work better for me when the moon is down low near the horizon rather than high in the sky.

    Hmmmm ... went back and found a couple I took.

    This one is f16 @ 1 sec at 300mm ISO 125

    [​IMG]

    and this one, taken late afternoon, is f5.6 @ 1/640sec at 300 mm ISO 160

    [​IMG]

    ... go figure. Guess ya just have to play a bit. Both were taken with my Sigma 50-150mm f2.8 with Sigma 2X TC
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2008
  5. astrostu

    astrostu Guest

    I have heard this over and over again, to use a small aperture. As far as I'm concerned, there is absolutely no reason to use a small aperture (high f/#). This is especially applicable if you don't have a tripod because the higher the f/#, the slower your shutter speed has to be or the higher the ISO. The first will give you a blurrier picture and the second will give you a noisier picture.

    The only reason that I've heard that makes sense to use an aperture smaller than your maximum wide-open aperture is that lenses are generally sharpest at 1-3 stops smaller than their widest. And yet another reason not to use your minimum aperture is that this sharpest point IS generally 1-3 stops down, and that it gets blurrier at the smallest apertures (due to diffraction).

    Here is a section from a guide that I wrote, and note that you will need to use a longer exposure than suggested if the moon is less than full, but the values listed can still be used as a starting point.

     
  6. icassell

    icassell TPF Noob!

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    Astrostu -- thanks for this summary ... more logical by far than my trial and error method!
     
  7. christopher walrath

    christopher walrath No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    A full moon has a brightness of 250 candles per square foot. We know this due mostly to Ansel Adams' publishings. This would be an additive light value of just greater than 5 on a variation of the EV Index. Now your film speed. Assuming a faster film speed, you have a speed value of 6 for ISO200, 7 for ISO400, 8 for ISO800, 9 for ISO1600 and 10 for ISO 3200. So your EV number for ISO200 would be EV11. EV 12 for ISO400, EV13 for ISO800, EV14 for ISO1600 and EV15 for ISO3200. Of course this would be for a Zone V exposure. If you want the moon brighter than a middle tone of brightness then increase exposure value (decrease EV number) appropriately.
     
  8. Helen B

    Helen B TPF Noob!

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    Chris,

    There's a sizable mismatch between Stu's suggestion of Ev 14.5 or Wikipedia's Ev 15 for the Moon high in the sky (and ISO 100) and yours of Ev 10 (extrapolated from your suggestion of Ev 11 for ISO 200). There should be some difference because of the difference in the Moon's altitude, but not that much.

    Ansel's mention of 250 c/ft2 was for his Moonrise at Hernandez photo, when the Moon was low in the sky. To place that on Zone V with ISO 100 film (Sv 5) would require an Ev of about 14.5, not 10 (you can use AA's 'key stop' method to determine this if you want it AA's way*). AA placed it on Zone VII for Moonrise, so his exposure would have been equivalent to Ev 12.5 at ISO 100 (and no filter). The reason for your error appears to be in your conversion of 250 c/ft2 to a Bv of 5. It isn't. It is 9.6.

    The important thing to remember, as already mentioned, is that the illuminated side of the Moon is a sunlit landscape - so the exposure should not be too far from that which would be appropriate for a sunlit terrestrial landscape.


    * Key stop for ISO 100 film is f/10 (the square root of 100)
    Av for f/10 is 6.6
    Shutter speed to place 250 c/ft2 on Zone V = 1/250 s
    Tv for 1/250 is 8
    Therefore the Ev is about 14.5.

    Best,
    Helen
     
  9. Helen B

    Helen B TPF Noob!

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    Just in case this is misunderstood, I should explain that this use of 'key stop' is just for determining one possible combination of aperture and shutter speed for a particular subject brightness, it is not a recommendation for the actual aperture to use. It was the exposure method used by Ansel Adams for his Moonrise at Hernandez photo - one of his iconic images.

    At the key stop (which is the square root of the film speed in ISO (arithmetic ISO, also known as ASA by many) the shutter speed in seconds should be the reciprocal of the subject luminance in c/ft2 for a Zone V placement. All other combinations of placement, aperture and shutter speed can be calculated from that - which is what Ansel Adams did for Moonrise.

    Best,
    Helen
     

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