Friday, February 25, 2011

Shooting the Moon

This week's "Title This" post featured a shot of the full moon.  Capturing that big, glowing orb proves to be a bit of a challenge for your camera's sensor, but it's actually pretty easy if you know the secret.

Shutter speed. 

Yep, that's it.  It's a photography lesson I "re-learn" every time I attempt to capture the moon.  As a landscape photographer my camera's shooting mode rarely finds itself set to anything other than aperture priority. That being said, my first instinct is always to drop the ISO and tighten up the aperture to f/18 or so to reduce the amount of light reaching the sensor hoping to avoid "blow outs".  After four or five shots without much success, I suddenly am reminded that I have that "other" shooting mode on my camera too...that shutter priority thing. :-)

I switched over to shutter priority, set my shutter speed to 1/1000th of a second and opened my aperture up to f/5.6.  The first shot came out a little dark so I backed the shutter speed down to 1/800th of a second for the shot you see above.  You don't necessarily require a MONSTER lens either.  The above shot was taken with my trusty Nikon 18-200mm "racked out" to 200mm.

Then, because the full moon had a hold of me and was making me think crazy thoughts, I went in the house and grabbed my wife's camera with her Sigma 150-500mm.

It's almost like being there ;-).  Heh! Is that E.T. over there on the left?

If you're as captivated by the "final frontier" as I am, why stop at shooting the moon?  Astrophotography is a whole discipline dedicated to capturing those spectacular cosmic events.  Here's a link to the site of a fellow Zenfolio member who's out there among the stars.  Pretty amazing imagery!

Have any "full moon" shots you'd like to share (remember, this is a family orientated site :-)?  Drop a link in the comments section below and share your full moon fever.


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