February 2013
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How to take great photos of the moon – Part 2

Read the previous post on this series (Taking photos of the moon – Part 1)

Tip 1086 (Try different exposure levels for getting the best moon shot): A moon shot is not like taking a photograph in a street in broad daylight. You cannot just take a photo with a pre-defined exposure (aperture and shutter speed) and expect to get a good shot. In the case of challenging situations such as a moon shot, it would be expected that you would need to take multiple shots, experimenting with different exposure values (even adjusting the ISO levels) in order to get a good shot. In such cases, there can be a number of different factors that govern the amount of light available, such as light pollution, whether there moon is full or not, and other factors. One cannot have a single defined value of exposure that works from day to day.

Tip 1087 (Decide the size of moon you want to take a photo of): When you think of photographing the full moon, you would think of a full moon, after all, it provides the maximum amount of light and also seems to the view where you can get the maximum number of features that are present on the moon in your photo. But you would be surprised, a number of people do like to take photos of the different phases of the moon. Sometimes when you are photographing the full moon, the appearance of the moon can appear to be flat; you can get a lot of details when the moon seems to be in different phases (including the phase when the moon is between the new moon (when it cannot almost be seen) and the half-moon phase). So, experiment with shooting the different phases of the moon, and you might be surprised.

Tip 1088 (Don’t get dissuaded if you don’t get it right): I remember the first time I tried to shoot photos of the moon, and setup a tripod, stayed up late at night so that a lot of the ambient lights in the surroundings went off, and then focused on the moon. Somehow the photo in the LCD did not seem as well as I thought, although given the light effects, I was not sure whether I was seeing the photos in the LCD properly. But then when I transferred the photos to the computer, I was disappointed. However, I did not give up, and instead read a lot more and did more experimentation. And now, I am fairly satisfied with the moon photos that I shoot (till the time that I see some moon shots that were excellent – I see many of these from time to time on Facebook groups and on Flickr).
For an example of some great shots, see the following shots on Flickr (Search, specific shot). If you look at the specific shot (the second link above), you will find that the Flickr user has provided a lot of details in the comments in the photo about how to shoot this photo, and all of these provide great learning.
For more moon photos, check out this Flickr Group (Moon Photos on Flickr)

Tip 1089 (Cable release or remote shutter): These help eliminate some more reasons for camera shake. Now, it is not absolutely necessary to have these remote shutter release devices, but since they are relatively inexpensive, there is no reason why you should not be getting and using them. When you do get one of these small devices, do practice with it a few times before you actually use it for your actual moon shot.

Tip 1090 (Don’t go to sleep): This might seem a crazy tip, but you won’t believe the number of times that I have gone with people for shooting at night (not only for shooting the moon), and then seen them being sluggish because of sleep catching up with them. If you are going for shooting pics of the moon at night (there are times when you can get some great shots at late evening or in the morning), then make sure that you have had some sleep and carry something like coffee (not alcohol, not beer) to ensure that you banish the sleep during the times when you are shooting.

Some great books and a filter (from Amazon):

The Digital Photography Book Night and Low-Light Photography Photo Workshop 1.25″ Orion 13% Transmission Moon Filter

Videos from Youtube on shooting the moon:

Shooting the moon Part 1

Shooting the moon part 2

How to Photograph the Moon, tutorial for video and still images

How to photograph the moon?

Read the next part of this series (Taking moon shots – Part 3)

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