Tag Archives: tips

Photographing the Moon

With acquiring this humengous cannon of a lens Sigma 150-500, it’s just natural that I wanted to shoot the Moon with it and see how it goes; and the results were amazing!

Ofcourse this is not how it comes out when you press the shutter. The original images look more humble.

These are two images I originally shot with two different exposures- and you can see there is quite a bit of cropping required to come to the point of interest. (You can estimate the crop factor by seeing how my watermark comes right up on the first picture)
I can understand how to someone not used to work with this type of light would think that being dark frame this would require a long exposure and hence need a tripod to avoid blur- but the actual case is quite contrary.
Because you need the background night to be pitch black against the brightly lit moon, you actually have to underexpose the frame a bit- otherwise you will see a big white dot in the black sky. Underexposure brings out all the little details on the surface of the moon and makes it an interesting picture.
I used ISO settings from 400 and 1600 (I guess I will try with lower ISO again to see if I can get any more crispness in the shot- will share here again). I tried various shutter speeds too naturally, and I found 1/2000 to 1/4000 quite functional for getting the basic shot. And at this fast speed, you can avoid using a tripod! So all these pictures are completely hand-held.
I shot them all with shutter wide open at 6.3 (that’s the max on this lens at 500) to keep the speed fast, but that is another point of further trials for me I guess- the lens would perform a bit more crisp at around f8 and I’ll find out what speed I can get it up to for that.
It always needs some cropping and adjustment of light- I used Aperture on my Mac for these adjustments- and I wouldn’t go into details of how to do the light editing here, as I don’t go by rules anyway. I just adjust various light parameters till I find an image that looks good and that’s all I need.
A nice little trick I found to work quickly though is: Go to Quick Fixes, Color adjustment, Cross Process 1 and then turn it to Black and White with a Red filter- this brings out the right contrast and details in the picture and balances the light quite well.
Shoot any day you can so you have various shots with different angles of light on the moon that bring out different details on the surface.

Found Neil Armstrong’s footprints yet?