The Moon

Tricks and tips for cap­tur­ing earth’s baby brother

NPhoto - - Nightscape Photography -

The first thing you’ll need to know is when the moon will be in the night sky and en­sure there are no ob­struc­tions hin­der­ing the field of view where you in­tend to po­si­tion it ris­ing. Use the Pho­toPills app to plot out the ex­act time of the moonrise along­side its ex­act po­si­tion; the app will also help you cal­cu­late the time of the moon pass­ing over high land­scape fea­tures such as moun­tains.

While nor­mally the pres­ence of cloud spells the end of an astro shoot, the moon semi-ob­scured by a bank of cloud can lend the shot real at­mos­phere.

Mon Rover

Re­mem­ber, the moon moves fast, so quick shut­ter speeds of no more that two sec­onds are needed to cap­ture its sur­face de­tail. It’s quite bright too, so you can get away with a nar­rower aper­ture of around f/5.6 and a low ISO of 200-1000.

En­sure the tri­pod is sturdy, and if us­ing a longer tele­photo, that the lens and cam­era are mounted to the tri­pod via the lens col­lar.

While you can pho­to­graph the moon on its own by zoom­ing in to show its dis­tinc­tive crater-marked sur­face, it’s gen­er­ally more in­ter­est­ing to show it in the land­scape. Nat­u­rally, this presents its own set of prob­lems – do you go for a wider shot and re­duce the size of the moon, or zoom in with a tele­photo lens, in which case you’ll need a rel­a­tively dis­tant point of in­ter­est to com­press per­spec­tive and have the moon big­ger. There’s also ex­po­sure – the moon will usu­ally be much brighter than the land – so you could let the moon blow out, or use a nar­row aper­ture to give it a star-like ap­pear­ance.

If try­ing to shoot the moon and in­cor­po­rate the land­scape, con­sider us­ing dusk or twi­light, as op­posed to com­plete dark­ness, as this helps ren­der the land­scape along­side a well-ex­posed moon.

If your shoot is within the hours of dark­ness, use a neu­tral grey card used for cor­rect­ing white bal­ance by hold­ing it over the enough of the lens to ex­pose for the land­scape whilst block­ing out the moon­light, then within the last split sec­ond of the ex­po­sure, move the card and al­low for the ex­po­sure of the moon. This is a tricky tech­nique to at­tain re­sults, but af­ter some prac­tice, it’s a valu­able tech­nique when work­ing on moon­lit land­scapes.

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