Help with detailed moon picture

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Doxe, Dec 26, 2010.

  1. Doxe macrumors newbie

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    Dec 26, 2010
    #1
    Hi all,

    Just wondering if it is possible to get a detail moon picture like some on here with my Nikon D60 and a tameron AF 70-300 1:4-5.6 Lens.

    I have tried many different exposures and shutter speeds with 0 joy.

    many thanks,

    DoXe
     
  2. snberk103 macrumors 603

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    #2
    The moon is much brighter than you would think. Try starting at 100 ISO, 125th of second, and f/8. Use a tripod, and if you don't have a cable release then set the shutter to fire on a delay. You might need to shade the eyepiece if you have a brightish light behind you (i.e. you don't want light getting into the system through the viewfinder.

    Good Luck and happy mooning...
     
  3. harcosparky macrumors 68020

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    #3
    As stated above, it is very bright on the moon all the time.

    Or as one old guy told me long ago .... " It's a sunny day on the moon, everyday! "

    Also - try focusing on the edge of the moon - this should give you great detail of the craters in that area.
     
  4. Cliff3 macrumors 65816

    Cliff3

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    #4
    Just set your focus to infinity. Depth of field isn't much of an issue when photographing the moon either.
     
  5. ltapd204 macrumors newbie

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    #5
    I am no expert in this field, but have tried many things in the past to photograph the moon. All the above information is good advice. I researched this topic at great length and all the post are on the money. The only thing I can add is make sure your camera is set to "manual" mode. I finally gave in and set my Canon 50D to full manual mode, mounted an EF 70-200mm L f/2.8 lens on a tripod and took photos of last weeks lunar eclipse. The photos turned out ok, but I did not use a remote or self timer, which I think would have made a difference. Here are a couple I was able to get.

    Good luck.

    [​IMG]
    ISO 200, Tv 1/250, Av f11

    [​IMG]
    ISO 200, Tv 1/250, Av f8
     
  6. harcosparky macrumors 68020

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    #6
    Does the Nikon D60 have LIVE VIEW?

    On my Canons I often use LIVE VIEW and zoom in 10X, the camera is in full manual, exposure and more importantly Manual Focus.

    It's on a heavy tripod and I do manually focus for most moon shots.

    This helps as well as everything else that has been said.
     
  7. Cliff3 macrumors 65816

    Cliff3

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    #7
    Set the metering mode to spot, and your aperture to F8. That should keep the shutter speed up, which you want to minimize vibration and atmospheric effects. Set the autofocus mode to manual and manually turn your focus ring to infinity - infinity on your lens is probably under 100 feet and the moon is a good bit further away than that. Set your camera on a tripod and use a remote release or your camera's self-timer to eliminate vibration. If your body has a mirror up setting, use that too for the same reason.
     
  8. Eaton Photos macrumors regular

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    #8
    The Moon can be captured with almost any combination of cameras/ lenses, though one MUST have a Rock-Solid Support system in place to both maximize sharpness & capture texture/ detail. By Rock-Solid, I mean not a Cheap Tripod. You want something that is rated to exceed the weight of your gear, but also something that is not flimsy, nor preferably has a Center Column. Center Column's that are in the up position, are not stable and thus, will introduce even the slightest amounts of blur. A Center Column in the down position is usable, though the BEST option, is to utilize a set of legs, that does not have a center column at all.

    Your D60 & 70-300 are quite sufficient, however, you need to minimize vibrations, by using Mirror Lock-Up (MLU), and either the 2/10 Sec Timer or a Cable Release. By using MLU, you more or less eliminate vibration from the shutter mechanism. The Timer Feature or a Cable Release, helps to minimize shake/ vibrations from tripping the shutter, which spreads vibrations throughout the body, and is noticeable when doing short time exposures.

    As has been pointed out, metering/ proper exposure for the Moon, is like shooting in Daylight. Keep your ISO low/ 100-200 depending on what your base ISO is, and start working with various shutter speeds. Once you have found a SS that gives you a properly exposed moon, start bracketing exposure in 1 Stop increments. Doing this will give you several stops of dynamic range, that will show both your Shadows/ Mid-tones/ & Highlights. I usually set my F-stop to around F/8 or F/11, depending on my lens setup. As has been pointed out, use both Manual Mode & Manual Focusing.

    Hope this Helps.
     
  9. jabbott macrumors 6502

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    Nov 23, 2009
    #9
    I second using spot metering... Most cameras aren't able to photograph the moon well because they default to a metering mode that uses the entire frame. With the moon being so bright and the adjacent area being so dark, the default metering mode tends to over-expose the moon. With spot metering it will only use the moon to determine exposure settings, assuming you point the center of the viewfinder at the moon when taking the picture. All of the other advice here is great as well!
     
  10. snberk103 macrumors 603

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    #10
    Ahh, but if you understand about light you won't need to meter the moon. Just thinking about how the moon is light should allow you to make a very very good estimate about the proper setting to expose the moon.

    Not every camera has a spot meter. I haven't used the spot meter mode in a number of years, though I do have a handheld meter with a spot meter attachment. For difficult settings.
     
  11. Cliff3 macrumors 65816

    Cliff3

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    #11
    Ahh, but if the original poster understood about light he wouldn't be asking for help on an Internet forum. I understand the point you're trying to make, but I think it's a bit advanced considering the level of frustration expressed in his request.

    All Nikon DSLRs have a spot metering mode, although its behavior changes somewhat depending on the model. The OP is shooting with a Nikon. I neither know nor do I care about other brands. Making wise use of the tools the camera offers is the quickest way to success.
     
  12. snberk103 macrumors 603

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    #12
    Fair enough, though I did give the OP the settings to get them into the ball park. I guess I was trying to spark a conversation about why it is that the moon should be shot as a bright sunny day. And I agree about making good use of the tools at hand. Don't know Nikons, so don't know what tools they offer. I also believe that knowing how things work.
     
  13. Cliff3 macrumors 65816

    Cliff3

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    #13
    There's a bit of difference in that the light coming from the moon is reflected light, and it loses some intensity in that process. For example, this image was shot at f8 @ 1/200 with ISO 200. The exposure setting I used is two stops faster than what the sunny 16 rule would advise.

    [​IMG]
     
  14. snberk103, Dec 27, 2010
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2010

    snberk103 macrumors 603

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    #14
    I'm not sure I understand. If I'm taking a photo of barn, the light the camera sees is the reflected light... the same as the light that has been reflected off the moon. Perhaps I'm not understanding what you are trying to say?

    That's a nice photo of the moon.

    I think most people believe the moon is much brighter than it really is. We think it's a bright silvery orb, because we perceive it against a black background, and with eyes that are trying to adapt to the darkness. So we think it's very bright and silvery.

    I found this image on www.astronet.ru, and it shows the moon with some Apollo space suits - to show a relatively known tone.

    Note how the white suits have started to burn-out. This whole image could be a stop or so darker to be "properly exposed", I believe. Now compare how much darker the 'moon' in the Apollo shot is compared to your moon.

    I think your moon shot shows us what we perceive the moon to look like, but perhaps it's not actually the tonal value of the moon.

    Now, I should add that I have done no research to find out what tonal value the moon should be, so I might just be whistling up a dark path!
     

    Attached Files:

  15. Cliff3, Dec 27, 2010
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2010

    Cliff3 macrumors 65816

    Cliff3

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    #15
    I used the camera's spot meter which came in 2 stops faster than what the sunny 16 rule came in with. That's what I was comparing.

    I definitely tweaked my image in post. It has been a couple of years since I looked at the original file, but I can say for sure the WB in the raw file is a heck of a lot warmer than this one. Call it artistic license (edit: or maybe the warmth was the result of a concentration of airborne particulates caused by our normal Winter-time temperature inversions, i.e.: smog)

    I don't know that comparing my terrestrial post processed digital image with a lunar digitized post processed medium format image taken 40 years ago as part of a scientific record meets the apples to apples test...

    http://www.lpi.usra.edu/lunar/missions/apollo/apollo_11/photography/
     
  16. snberk103 macrumors 603

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    #16
    Sorry, I meant that I didn't follow the reasoning behind your comment about reflected light losing intensity.

    No, we can't really compare the two images in any meaningful fashion. However, I did start reading a bit about the moon. And besides finding some fascinating claims about the Apollo moon mission photos being hoaxed, I did find one reference that says that the moon is 18% reflective. So, if you have an 18% grey card handy - you can can compare your moon shot to the card.

    I've not really researched how to photograph the moon, nor have I taken a lot of moon shots. I only know what I've been taught... and I can't guarantee that it was accurate.

    That is still a nice moon shot you took.
     
  17. Artful Dodger macrumors 68020

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    #17
  18. Cliff3 macrumors 65816

    Cliff3

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    #18
    Just that the moon's albedo is not perfectly reflective, while the sunny 16 rule involves direct sunlight. So there is transmission loss in light reflected from the moon.

    And thanks. I took it before dawn a couple of years ago. I think I am going to head out before dawn this week to get a shot of the waning moon. Venus should be very close by and hopefully the weather will cooperate. Eaton Photos post above has me wanting to try a couple of 5 or 7 shot brackets that I could use for a fusion or an HDR.

    I also ground off the tab on my 1.4x TC yesterday and I want to give it a test run. That modification will let me stack it with my 2x TC and in combination with my 300/2.8 will push it up to 840mm. Hopefully the center sharpness will be decent.
     
  19. jabbott macrumors 6502

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    #19
    Sorry but manual mode isn't for everyone... to use an automotive analogy, most people don't know the air-fuel ratio, cam timing, gear ratios and stages of a four-stroke engine but still drive a car. :p It's certainly nice to know how to take photos manually (and I do so myself sometimes) but by no means is this always necessary with modern camera equipment.

    I was writing to the OP, whose Nikon D60 has spot metering. If auto exposure is going to be used, it should be used in conjunction with spot metering mode (and the other suggestions in this forum) for the best results.
     
  20. mtbdudex, Dec 28, 2010
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2010

    mtbdudex macrumors 68000

    mtbdudex

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    #20
    There are 6 pages of moon shots in this thread with exif data, camera settings, etc for various moon phases, pls look over these.
    Lots of members posted there.
    Full moon fever!!/Lunar "X"/General moon shots


    As moon goes thru its phases you have to adjust your camera settings, most important thing is to NOT over expose your moon shots, rather slightly underexpose and then bring up in PP.
    ex: Full moon on clear skies mostly overhead I've shoot ISO100, f11, 1/250 @ 250mm with great results many-many times, as moon is closer to horizon change the settings slightly more open aperture, keeping shutter speed relatively high is better for sharpness if possible.
    As moon is less than full also open the aperture, lower the shutter speed, or up the ISO to 200.....ymmv, experiment and learn.

    Best time to shoot the moon is clear/still skies with it mostly overhead, which is hard to then compose it ....

    fwiw, I took these early this morning, 1st semi-clear skies since the eclipse a week ago.
    Even then, Moon was not really much above the horizon and I had to use slower shutter and more open aperture than if the moon more high in the sky due to atmospheric haze.
    Very windy skies so these not as crisp/sharp as other days.

    In Aperture 3 I did PP, including dialing down the saturation slightly to take some of the yellow haze away, since I was shooting with moon still not high above horizon.

    70-200 L mkII + 1.4x TC for 280mm, ISO200, 1/125 sec, f 4.0
    [​IMG]

    70-200 L mkII + 2.0x TC for 400mm, ISO200, 1/125 sec, f 5.6
    [​IMG]
     
  21. Doxe thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Dec 26, 2010
    #21
    Thank you all for your replys. I will take on board what has been said and put it to the test. I have a tripod and a remote switch, however, tripod is not that great so i will get a better 1. Once i have had a bit of a play i will try to post the results.

    Again, many thanks.

    DoXe
     
  22. snberk103 macrumors 603

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    #22
    I agree that manual mode is not for everyone. Heck, I rarely use manual mode myself - and I went though a period of using large format cameras. However, I think one's photography can only get better when you know how things work - even if it's only just to recognize when it's time to read the manual on manual mode (hee hee pun intended).

    I think there is a better car analogy though. Knowing air-fuel ratio, cam timing, etc is more about understanding how the digital receptors are laid out, which pattern they are in, what the camera software is doing, etc. In the example of the moon shot, we aren't at that level of complexity where that matters.

    Again, using the car analogy, photographers should know about how to turn into a skid. When to downshift in the snow (topical on the east coast, eh?!) and when to apply the brakes. Is the car front wheel drive or rear wheel? Because modern cars have all of these wonderful computers that make our lives easier, simpler, and safer. But sometimes you have to turn off the Auto ding-dang thing because it's getting in the way.

    In the moon shot example..... if you understand about light, you can just set it to manual and shoot away. Easy Cheesy. If you understand about how the light-meter works you will understand why normal metering won't work, and if have a spot-meter, why it will work. And then how to set the exposure compensation dial to account for the fact that you are no longer averaging a scene. ( Although in the case of the moon, it appears that isn't an issue. And I know why.)

    There are too many ways for the very smart camera computer to be fooled. And a good photographer needs to know when it's being fooled (like the moon shot). Why it's being fooled, so that they can compensate. And then how to use the wonderful tools that a modern camera makes available to the photographer so that they can make the best image possible.

    imho, of course.
     
  23. AlaskaMoose, Dec 28, 2010
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2010

    AlaskaMoose macrumors 65816

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    #23
    For me the easiest way for moon shots is as follows (Canon 40D, with a 400mm Canon lens):

    a. Camera on a tripod, manual mode, and manual focusing. Small flashlight with me
    b. LiveView (which locks the mirror UP when the photo is taken)
    c. Time set to 2 seconds (I don't have a remote, nor cable release)
    d. Eyepiece covered with the camera's eyepiece cover (or black electrical tape)
    e. f/11, 100 ISO, shutter speed of 1/125 ( a few shots), then 1/200 (a few more shots. I vary the speed from /125-1/200

    A few friend-photographers have told me that the moon is a bright object, and that I should take photos of it just like taking photos at the beach on a sunny day, and this seems to work.

    Another way, without using LiveView:

    a. Tripod, camera on manual mode, manual focusing.
    b. Mirror-lock activated, plus 2-second timer
    c. Same aperture, shutter speeds, and ISO as above
    d. Small flashlight (you will need it)
    e. Focus the lens to infinite (align the lines on the lens' barrel to infinite)
    f. Let the camera and lens adjust to the ambient temperature, and double-check the lens focus lines
    g. Turn the camera ON, look through, fine-tune the focus to your liking, and then adjust the eyepiece's diopter (the latter is important). Readjust focus if needed
    h. Press the shutter button when the image is sharp, move your hand away from the button (you will have two seconds to do so), but keep you eye next to the eyepiece as you try not to move the camera (or just tape the eyepiece real fast) :)
     
  24. mtbdudex macrumors 68000

    mtbdudex

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    #24
    Try this moon exposure calculator....kinda neat...
    http://www.adidap.com/2006/12/06/moon-exposure-calculator/
     

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