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Photography Question 
Tonya Cozart
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/22/2003
 

How to Photograph the Moon


 
 
I shot some pictures of a full moon, and when using an exposure long enough to get detail in the tree and night sky, I blew out the moon... Does anyone know the correct way to shoot this without blowing the moon out? Anyone know how to tone it down in PS?


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2/12/2006 8:56:14 PM

 
Andrew Laverghetta
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/13/2004
  Probably the best way would be to take two separate pictures and combine them into one. The two exposure values for the two things (trees and moon) are so different that it's probably impossible to get them exposed properly with a digital camera ... unless somehow the trees and such were lit very well. Hope this helps!


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2/12/2006 9:05:01 PM

 
Steve Warren
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/1/2004
 
 
 
Hey Tonya,
Here is a pic I did without Photoshop. I took a photo of the moon using the "Moony 11" rule (f11 and shutter speed of 1/ISO or film speed). I then took a separate exposure of the city with a long 30-second exposure. Like I said, I didn't use Photoshop, as it was all done on film with a multiple exposure, but you may be able to use digital editing to get like results.


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2/12/2006 10:35:20 PM

 
Tonya Cozart
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/22/2003
  hey guys...thanks so much! I never really thought about the moon being as "bright" as it really is, because it is nighttime I guess. I did a search here too about shooting the moon and got lots of info, but mainly just what you two have said. I am going to take another shot of just the moon tonite and see what I can do in the "digital darkroom"
Thanks again!


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2/13/2006 8:06:04 AM

 

BetterPhoto Member
  If you are metering in a lot of background, the detail of the moon will wash out. The camera will try to incorporate the brightness into its grey scale. Cameras have to use a grey scale to meter all colors. If it sees mainly dark colors, it will think it needs to open up to read the dark. You need to compensate to achieve good detail of the moon. I've gotten some really great tight shots of the moon. The best shot I got of a distant frame was by using a spot meter. Have a great day and keep shooting.


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2/13/2006 10:55:17 AM

 
Brendan Knell
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/17/2005
  This isn't really an answer to your question, but it's a tip on moon pictures. I've found out that full moons generally don't turn out as good as crescent moons. An exception to this is definitely Steve's pic. So when a crescent moon comes, make sure that you try it to and see which works out better for you.


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2/13/2006 6:06:08 PM

 
Tonya Cozart
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/22/2003
  thanks Mark and Brendan....I will try your suggestions!!
I was going to get out there tonite, but have been too busy and just now remembered I was going to when I saw an answer on my thread...lol


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2/13/2006 7:44:23 PM

 
Christopher Budny
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/3/2005
chrisbudny.com
 
 
  Moon for Tonya
Moon for Tonya
f/4.5, 1/250th, ISO64, -1ev, tripod
© Christopher Budny
chrisbudny.com
Sony Cyber-shot DS...
 
 
I haven't tried to capture a full moon and some moonlit foreground yet, but I like the idea of a composite image. I captured this shot of the moon which I thought was pretty decent, for my non-slr setup. (Although I did use a 1.7x teleconverter.) I took several shots in a row, each with slightly different settings; that way I'd have a few different 'lighting levels' to choose from, so that my pasted moon would better match the overall lighting of the background picture, when creating a composite image.


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2/13/2006 8:20:09 PM

 
Tonya Cozart
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/22/2003
  That is a great photo christopher, very nice! I guess my biggest issue was trying to shoot the moon AND have detail in the foreground....


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2/13/2006 9:16:11 PM

 
David Earls   Tonya,

You might also be able to do this with a graduated neutral density filter. I'm not advocating that you buy a Singh-Ray filter (they're expensive), but there's an excellent article on their site by John Shaw about using these filters. You can find the article at www.sing-ray.com/shawarticle.html (sorry, I don't know how to embed links in responses).

John Shaw is a very successful and widely respected nature photographer. He's also one of the clearest writers I've come across.

The GND filter might enable you to capture the moon and the trees with a single shot, and without excessive manipulation in Photoshop.


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2/14/2006 10:55:28 AM

 
Craig  Paulsen   I'm still trying to figure how to shoot it in color.


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2/14/2006 11:51:02 AM

 
David Earls   Craig,

Since the moon presents so much contrast to the night sky, the camera tends to blow out the color. However, you can try the following to put some color into it.

In Photoshop, click Edit/Convert to Profile/Lab color (you'll get a better conversion than simply switching modes). Create a Curves adjustment layer. Use the a channel to add magenta or green, and use the b channel to add blue or yellow. I find that using the b channel to enhance the yellow makes the end photo look less gray than where it started out.

If you do this on an adjustment layer, it's pretty simple to trash the layer if you don't like the first result.

While you're in Lab color, you can sharpen on the L channel. There's no color data on the L channel, so you don't have to worry about creating color fringes.

When you're finished in Lab mode, click Edit/Convert to profile and select your target RGB, sRGB, or CMYK colorspace.

HTH


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2/14/2006 12:04:01 PM

 
Jon Kolstad
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/10/2005
  The exposure I have used successfully is basically the same as for a daylight shot. I think iso 100, f11, 1/125 would be a good starting point. A stop one way or the other should give you nice detail.


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2/15/2006 10:30:20 AM

 
Dennis Creaghan  
 
 
Dear Tonya, The moon alone is easy to shoot being quite bright. f5.6@1/125 will give you a good exposure,see enclosed shot. However the length of exposure necessary to expose surroundings will always blow it out.Double exposure for film,or cut and paste for digital will be necessary.

Dennis


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2/15/2006 11:23:35 AM

 
Dennis Creaghan  
 
 
Dear Tonya, The moon alone is easy to shoot being quite bright. f5.6@1/125 will give you a good exposure,see enclosed shot. However the length of exposure necessary to expose surroundings will always blow it out.Double exposure for film,or cut and paste for digital will be necessary.

Dennis


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2/15/2006 11:25:29 AM

 
Janet H. Flint   I agree with Jon K's answer. The old rule I have read is the same, treat it like a day time shot.(old saying)F8 1/125 and be there.Bracket your shots. Long exposures only elongate and blur your moon shot because it is capturing the earths rotation. Long exposures are good for star trail images.Believe it or not the moon is as bright as the sun. So use your sunny rule and play around and keep notes that work well for you and start from there next time.


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2/15/2006 11:34:14 AM

 
Maria Melnyk   If it's a full moon use the Sunny 16 rule either as is or open up a stop. This works fine.


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2/15/2006 12:04:50 PM

 
Jerry M. Pennington
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/11/2005
  Hi there. The problem is that the moon is simply reflected sunlight ... or another way of putting it is that it's sunny on the moon. If you're shooting digital, the best way is to use a photo program to merge the two images. See my photo here. You'll need to scroll down some to come to the moon pic.


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2/15/2006 1:14:14 PM

 
Joe Ciccone
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/7/2005
 
 
 
try shooting in early morning after dawn....you can than alter the contrast or fill in light sky in PS...


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2/15/2006 2:52:35 PM

 
Joe Ciccone
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/7/2005
 
 
 
shot in early morning...or late afternoon while still light, then adjust contrast in PS


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2/15/2006 2:56:13 PM

 
April M. Shepard
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/11/2005
 
 
  moon dust
moon dust
© April M. Shepard
Minolta Maxxum 7D ...
 
 
I myself have tried many attemps to capture the full moon in detail along with clouds. I have not been able to get both in detail like I wish I could.


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2/15/2006 3:51:10 PM

 
Joe Ciccone
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/7/2005
  sorry copy here is so small///fpr better detail see full photo in my portfolio...cheers


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2/15/2006 4:41:28 PM

 
Tami Jo Gramont
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/24/2006
 
 
 
I took a photo at dusk, just as the moon was rising and this is what happened. I don't know more about taking one at night, just dusk and dawn.


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2/15/2006 5:28:43 PM

 
Tami Jo Gramont
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/24/2006
 
 
 
The image...


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2/15/2006 5:36:06 PM

 
Donna L. Cuic
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/5/2003
  I read in a book by Lee Frost that the perfect shot of a full moon surrounded by blackness you need to be using an exposure of 1/250 at f/8 with 100 ISO film; 1/125 or 1/60 for a cresent moon. I haven't tried it yet but I am looking forward to trying it one night...He claims in his book there is a little leeway but if you are photographying the moon in clear conditions against a black night sky these exposure will give you good results.


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2/15/2006 6:02:13 PM

 
Arun Neogi   I have experienced that taking MOON PICTURE at night is very difficult. It is better to shoot the full moon at the very begining of the day just before the sunrise when there is enough light. Try it.


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2/15/2006 7:56:36 PM

 
Andrew Laverghetta
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/13/2004
  No it's really simple as stated before. Usually the Sunny 16 or whatever works pretty good. I think it's something like 1/100 second at f/16 if you're using ISO 100. SO whatever ISO you're using, that's your shutter speed. Of course, if you're using a longer, telephoto lens, you can open the aperture up a few stops and use that many stops faster of a shutter speed. Shoot the moon just as if you were shooting at 2PM or so on a sunny day. Simple enough. As for getting the clouds exposed, try a little fill flash. You'll need a guide number of, um, 6 miles? Just a guess? haha! just kidding about the flash of course :)


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2/15/2006 8:48:11 PM

 
April M. Shepard
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/11/2005
 
 
  moon lit
moon lit
© April M. Shepard
Minolta Maxxum 7D ...
 
 
Well I gave it anouther shot tonight. Too bad there were no clouds to add effect. Thats the best I got.


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2/15/2006 9:04:52 PM

 
Donna L. Cuic
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/5/2003
  So April, besides from being a little blurry, not bad at least its not blown out...so what was your settings? Did you crop or do you have a super huge lens to fill the frame like that?


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2/16/2006 3:16:52 AM

 
Joe Ciccone
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/7/2005
 
 
 
the moon and Jupiter rising...ha


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2/16/2006 4:14:25 AM

 
Joe Ciccone
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/7/2005
 
 
 
...


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2/16/2006 4:15:37 AM

 
April M. Shepard
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/11/2005
 
 
 
Well Donna thanks for your comment. I shot this pic at a shutter speed of 500, f/11. I used a 300mm macro zoom lens and yes I did have to crop. I never have been that great at moon shots.
April S.


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2/17/2006 7:56:43 AM

 
Karthik A. Ganapathi   Along those lines..i took a pic of the full moon at a 500mm zoom level..and I want to reexpose the film with a skyline at night..what precautions should I take with the exposure for the second one..my first exposure was pretty long..about 1/10 of a second..i am assuming that it will not make a difference because my second exposure will be in the order of a few seconds!!
8-10 at f22..


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2/18/2006 8:01:37 AM

 
Tonya Cozart
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/22/2003
  Wow, this has turned into quite a little discussion! So much help and info here!
April, I LOVE YOUR MOON SHOT! that is really cool, even though the moon is blown, it is a great look! I like mine with the moon blown as well, but I wanted to see how you can get a correctly exposed moon.
I tired a few the other night at a setting of 125, and bracketed at f8, f11, f16 and f22, none of it worked at all at night, but in the morning I did it again and got some good shots. So are the sunny16 and moony11 rules effective for night shooting? I just never got it to work at those apertures and 125.


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2/18/2006 12:07:45 PM

 
Andrew Laverghetta
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/13/2004
 
 
  Moon
Moon
© Andrew Laverghetta
Canon EOS 20D Digi...
 
 
Here's my best, legitimate, moon shot. It is on my 20D with the ISO set to 100. The exposure was 1/320 @ f/6.3. Worked out further, that would be your "moony11."


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2/18/2006 12:53:31 PM

 
Andrew Laverghetta
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/13/2004
  OH, forgot to mention I was using the Canon EF 200mm f/2.8L which was more like 320mm. Even though, I still had to crop and I used this specific shutter/aperture combo to keep the same exposure as 1/100 @ f/11 but to keep the camera steady during the exposure, or so there wouldn't be camera shake.


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2/18/2006 12:58:55 PM

 
Joe Ciccone
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/7/2005
  Legitimate moon shot? this shot was taken with the Canon Power Shot S2 which cost less than the lens on some of the equiptment you guys are using...
"our Moon with Jupiter rising...naa" see this a few postings above,was taken in early morning, actually as and after thought,since was testing this new cameras Image
Stabilizer..S2 was set on auto, 12 zoom....It's legitimate except for darkening the sky and adding a small white dot to simulate the planet Jupiter....get a life everyone...go out and take some different photos, forget the moon for a while...cheers-


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2/18/2006 2:07:54 PM

 
Andrew Laverghetta
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/13/2004
  I was talking about my other moon shot in my gallery. It's incredibly close and with a rather, low quality camera. I actually shot the other one through my telescope with as much negative exposure compensation as I could set the camera at. That was the only control I had over the shot so that's why I don't call it legit.


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2/18/2006 3:14:18 PM

 
Janet H. Flint   Did you try f8 iso/film speed?


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2/18/2006 3:52:51 PM

 
Mary L. Lemley  
 
 
The moon is quite fun to shoot and sometimes other peoples's "rules" do not apply. Use your own "exposure" know how, stop, think, use tripod, and believe it or not dof button can also be of use. Take several til you get what you like. You also don't need to put color in as your camera will do it for you. Just not that big of a deal. MaryL.


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2/18/2006 9:00:34 PM

 
Mary L. Lemley  
 
 
The moon is quite fun to shoot and sometimes other peoples's "rules" do not apply. Use your own "exposure" know how, stop, think, use tripod, and believe it or not dof button can also be of use. Take several til you get what you like. You also don't need to put color in as your camera will do it for you. Just not that big of a deal. MaryL.


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2/18/2006 9:01:01 PM

 
Janet H. Flint   Tanya. Will looking for a site on microdrives I fonud this one with tutorials. Although it is talking about eclipes is also has some info a moon shots as well. Check it out. The is as a link to a astrography calculater. www.luminous-landscape.com/tutorial/lunar-eclipes.shtml


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2/23/2006 10:23:02 AM

 
Tonya Cozart
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/22/2003
  I stopped getting my emails on this thread, there has been some posting since I last checked. janet, thanks so much for the info, oh and duh...I was using 200 iso, the reccomendation is 100, but my d50 just does 200,400,800,1600, so I chose 200...


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2/23/2006 10:27:47 AM

 
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