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Wednesday, November 16, 2016


There is a learning curve every serious photographer must go through when shooting in difficult situations.  It doesn't get any more difficult than when shooting after the sun goes down.  First of all, make an assessment of what you want to do with your moon shot and start with a plan based on that assessment:

1. Pick a clear night sky, preferably at moon rise, and a location providing a view of the eastern     horizon. Since it will be dark, bring a flashlight or arrive at your location in advance of sundown so you can set up your shooting spot. At the horizon, the moon will look much larger with the naked eye than when it is higher in the sky.

2. Review the rules of shooting bright objects in darkness.  Shooting the full moon with a telephoto will require your camera white balance be set for Daylight or on Auto.  Shooting at night will require, in most cases, using a tripod. Meter the moon while at the maximum magnification of your telephoto lens (200mm or higher).

3.The camera settings providing the best result should be as follows: camera in full manual mode and the lens set to manual focusing. The ISO should be set to 100 or 200. Now use your live view monitor to check the sharpness. Use the close up button to blow the image up and adjust the focus easier. If you have the camera mounted on a tripod, to prevent even more unwanted jiggle, you can use the camera's automatic self timer, or if you have one, a remote shutter release. If your camera has it, lock up the mirror.
  A. Starting point: ISO 200, set aperture to F11; set speed to 1/250.
  B. Use speed setting to adjust as needed depending on your location and lens size.
Now take some test shots to determine what looks the best to you.

With Photoshop and other creative photo post-processing software, you can create practically any kind of moon image you want. But for taking pictures right out of the camera, try these ideas:

1. Photograph the moon as it rises behind city lights, sets behind a mountain, or reflects onto the water of a lake. Photograph the moon near an airport, where you can shoot a jet just as it passes into the light of the full moon. Find an interesting subject on land and shoot the moon behind the silhouette of a windmill or water tower. Clouds draping over parts of the moon look dreamy. Change your color setting to monochrome and shoot in black and white. And again, experiment with Photoshop. You can do a composite using several images that will be magazine worthy. And even if you decide to use a wide angle lens, a night time shot always looks better with the moon in it!

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