photograph the moon - with the camera you've already got.
Did you know
that a photo of the moon doesn't require exposure that's
much different than a photo of your dog in the back yard?
sense, though. When you see the moon it's been hit by the
direct light of the sun, and that light has passed through
Earth's atmosphere one time. Your dog in the back yard is
hit by the light of the sun, which has passed through the
Earth's atmosphere one time. So the kind of exposure for the
photo above isn't much different than a photo taken on
Laurens Street at high noon: ISO 200, f7.8, at 1/320th of a
second. The camera was a Fuji SL1000.
This takes a
little more thought than holding up the camera and snapping,
however. Let's talk about the settings you'll be making:
to want a lot of magnification, because the moon is a long
ways away. About 240,000 miles on average. And it's only
about 2,150 miles in diameter. So taking a photo of it is
like photographing a basketball that's 87 feet away from
photo at the top of the page? To get that same image size,
you'd need a 1200 mm lens on a 35mm camera. About an 800 mm
lens on your expensive DSLR camera. It's amazing how
powerful the lens on a bridge camera like the Fuji SL1000 or
a Nikon P520 or a Canon HS50 can be! Whatever camera you use
you'll want to use the highest power lens you've got.
lenses don't just magnify the moon - they magnify the
shakiness of your hand. I used a strong tripod to hold the
focus to infinity, rather than relying upon the AF of your
If you can
turn off image stabilization on your camera, do so. When
you're using a tripod, image stabilization can actually make
the image a little less sharp.
want a high shutter speed because the moon is moving rather
quickly. But you don't need a small aperture for depth of
field at these great distances. I set the lens almost wide
Use a low ISO
setting like 100 or 200 for best sharpness.
If you leave
your exposure on automatic or program, the dark heavens
surrounding the moon will fool your camera's electric eye.
The camera will overexpose the photo, leaving nothing but a
brilliant blur instead of the moon's detail. Set the +/-
button on your camera to darken the photo, usually around
3-4 f stops. Or set the exposure manually and adjust the
shutter speed until you like the results.
will be sharpest when the moon is high in the sky - because
the rays of light aren't traveling through as much
will be more interesting when the moon is not full. At full
moon the light is coming from behind the camera and you
don't get any dimensional modeling. Half moon or less gives
the most crater detailing.
shutter release gently to minimize camera shake. A remote
control or the camera's self timer help minimize the shake
you give the camera when you press the shutter release.
And send me
some copies of your photos - maybe on our FaceBook page.