Life as seen through my lens…
Tag Archives: Flickr
Originally uploaded to Flickr by Images by John ‘K’.
I had been hoping to get a clear moon shot every night this week to track the moon’s transition to being full, but the weather was against me. Tonight the sky was covered with fluffy white clouds through which the moon would make an occasional appearance. The moonlight on the back of the clouds made for a beautiful scene though, so even though this wasn’t the crisp clear moon shot I was hoping to grab, I decided to get an image of the sky anyway.
Now anyone who knows anything about digital photography will know that there is no way I got this picture from one shot – to get the right exposure for the clouds the moon ends up as a ball of white light. To get the right exposure for the moon, the clouds in the sky disappear into the darkness of the night. So to make this image I had to take two shots and then merge them together. I’m quite pleased with the result though.
My friends on Flickr call me “The Moonman” because I seem to be fixated with photographing the moon. Am I The Moonman or simply a lunatic?
After much early experimentation trying to get something I considered to be a half-way-decent photo of the moon using the equipment I have, I came up with the following guidelines….. (these are based on my experiences with 2 Nikon cameras, a D40x and a D5000, usually with my AF-S NIKKOR 70-300mm 1:4.5-5.6 G lens – feel free to adjust this to fit your equipment!)…..
* Have no filters on the lens (you want as little unneeded glass between you and the moon as possible)
* Have the camera on a good tripod (if not possible, be sure to brace yourself against something solid)
* Don’t use VR unless you are shooting freehand (if the camera is stable you don’t need it)
* If you can (especially if on a tripod) use remote shutter, or timed shutter release (eliminates shake from shutter press)
* Set to spot focus and spot metering
* Use Shutter Priority
* Set shutter speed so the camera thinks the exposure will be dark (this will vary dependent on how full the moon is and what lens you have)
* Use as low an ISO setting as your camera will allow (ideally 100)
* Pre-focus the shot and then turn AF off for when you take it (sometimes AF will do funky things when you don’t want it to).
* If you want clarity, don’t shoot with the moon low on the horizon.
* If you really want clarity, you want the moon to be fairly high in the sky at a time when the sky itself still has some light (dusk).
Moon shots typically need a bit of post-processing, but be careful to not overdo it.
* Contrast and level adjustments give the most bang for the buck.
* Keep sharpening to a minimum.
* Do what you can to remove noise from the sky
* If the color is odd (and you don’t like that!!) consider converting black and white.
If you use my suggestions, please let me see how your shots come out! If you have a recipe of your own that works well, please share it!
This picture was taken on October 10, 2010 during the San Francisco Fleet Week air display.
I was lucky enough to have it featured in a recent Flickr site blog article, and as a result I went from getting an average of 500 or so photo views a day to a staggering 25,000 a day for the time that blog page was current.
BOOM! indeed 🙂
It’s still spider season in the Sunol Regional Wilderness and so I had another eight-legged encounter on the way home from work today. This one seemed more than happy to pose for me!
I was right down at spider-eye level to get this shot – he was looking right at me 🙂
© John Krzesinski, 2010.