February 2013
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How to take great photos of the moon – Part 6

Read the previous post of this series (Shooting great photos – Part 5)

Tip 1106 (Getting both foreground and background (moon)): Many times you would have seen a photo where both the background (the bright moon) and the foreground are clear enough in the photo. Now, when you normally shoot the moon and want the details of the moon, you focus on the moon and get details of the moon. However, if at the same time you want details of the foreground in the same photo, it is pretty difficult. Because of light differences, the foreground (say the trees of a forest or the buildings in a city) would then seem very black. I have mentioned previously about taking multiple photos and combining them, and this is what is needed to be done in this case. From the exact same location, and with the same composition, you need to take 2 separate photos at different exposure levels. One photo should capture the foreground, in a way that the details of the foreground are visible, although in such a way, the moon will really not be visible. The other photo should be taken in such a way that the details of the moon are visible, which means that the foreground and almost everything else in the photo will be darkened out. Now, what needs to be done is to combine these photos in a photo editing tool such as Photoshop, using proper masking and combining techniques.

Tip 1107 (Learn about using objects other than a tripod for stability): This is another one of those generic tips that can be used for all purpose photography rather than only for moon photography. When you are looking for a stable surface, then even if you don’t have a tripod, do not despair. Remember the basic objective is to ensure that your camera is held in a stable position. I have used many surfaces for this kind of objective. You can place your camera on a vehicle, place it on a rock, place it on the camera bag itself (you need to push it a bit firmly for the camera to settle in a position where it will not move). Never let yourselves be stuck just because you don’t have a tripod with you. I once was in a party and saw some great fireworks, and was not carrying a tripod. There was a thick bush, and with the use of a piece of cloth, I managed to stabilize the camera on top of the bush such that a stable photo could be clicked.

Tip 1108 (Try to use the moon as a stage): Exposure to Flickr and Facebook has shown an incredible variety of photos, many of them incredible. I was looking at some great photos where people have tried to use the moon as a prop in their photos and these look great. Take a look at some of these (Image 1, Image 2, Image 3). Don’t just shoot photos of the moon, experiment and try out different stuff. Some of these photos will come out great, leaving you proud.

Tip 1109 (Try experimenting with the photo): In an earlier tip, I had mentioned to try and convert the image to a Black & White version. However, this is not the only thing you can do. You should try and experiment with different settings such as sepia, different colors, see the one which brings out a different touch to the photo. Also, software editing programs such as Photoshop give you a wide variety of optimizations such as sharpening, adjusting levels, etc. You might find that some of these settings improve your photos to a large degree.

Tip 1110 (Use the moon shots in other locations): This is strictly not a tip for shooting photos of the moon. But if you have some great shots of the moon, then keep the photo handy to fit it into other photos. Suppose you have a great photo of the city skyline, but were not in a position to get the moon properly; consider merging the moon photo from another shot into the photo of the skyline and see whether the photo comes out properly.

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?

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