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Photography QnA: Exposure Settings

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Category: All About Photography : Photographic Field Techniques : Exposure Settings

Wondering about indoor photography exposure settings? Maybe you are more interested in outdoor settings. This Q & A and Exposure Control in Digital Photography article covers it all. For in-depth instruction, check out Bryan F. Peterson's Understanding Exposure online photography course.

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Photography Question 
Pieter J. Roelofse

member since: 8/20/2001
  51 .  Flash Guide Numbers and Exposure
Hi again,
About flash guide numbers: I have a manual camera and manual focus lenses and a manual flash unit. I know how to do the calculations f-stop = GN (iso 100)/flash distance. How does this change when you use, for example, a 135mm lens instead of a 50 mm lens. Not sure about this... thanks.

8/21/2003 7:54:24 PM

Jon Close
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 5/18/2000
  That's the beauty of f-numbers. You don't have to take the lens focal length into consideration. f/4 is the same amount of light on the film, regardless of the lens used. The only thing that will come into play is the maximum angle of coverage that the flash can provide. Depending on the model it could cover the field of view of a 35mm, 28mm, 24mm, or 18mm lens. Whichever it is, you don't want to use a wider angle lens than what the flash can cover.

8/22/2003 10:54:59 AM

merna6 mouhamed

member since: 7/16/2003
 
 
 
I write my email but not opened

8/26/2003 5:28:45 AM

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Photography Question 
Luciana 

member since: 1/28/2002
  52 .  Metering Modes on Nikon 35mm SLR
I have a great Nikon 6006, but I have trouble to understand when to use its three metering modes (matrix, center, spot). When should I use each mode? Thanks,

1/28/2002 12:34:49 PM

John A. Lind
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 9/27/2001
  Luciana,

Matrix:
Samples various points throughout the image and uses an average of them to set exposure. This method is more sophisticated than "center" (see next description) because the microprocessor inside the camera evaluates the pattern of highlight and shadow from each point in the matrix, and then determines how to weight each point. It tends to be fooled less by more unusual or difficult scenes that can fool "center weighted" metering.

Center:
This method evaluates various points throughout the frame and uses an average of them for setting exposure. Points near the image center, and usually nearer the bottom of the frame, have more influence, or "weight" in the averaging method. This is much better than a simple, unweighted average across the entire frame. Usually the subject of interest is *not* at the very edge of a frame. If the specific method (should be described in the camera manual) also adds a little more weight to the bottom half to avoid being fooled by a bright sky, this can throw an exposure slightly off when you turn the camera vertically. Both of my "AE mode" cameras use "center weighted" averaging, and they are not easily fooled. Most are not, but a few can be.

Spot:
You should have a center spot in your camera's viewfinder with a "split image" and perhaps a small "microprism" ring around it that are (can be) used to help focus the lens. In "spot metering" mode, your camera only measures what is inside that center spot and uses it for setting exposure. Both of my "AE mode" cameras can be used in a "spot mode" also. With very unusual scenes that (with some experience) will fool the matrix or center-weighted modes, it's sometimes better to use the spot metering. I've also used it just as you would a hand-held spot meter, recorded the recommended exposures, done my own averaging, then manually set the exposure. Using the "spot" metering effectively requires some practice and experience. However, it can be result in its user being able to perform metering more sophisticated than even the matrix system. It's a powerful tool for setting an exposure based on the regions of highlight and shadow detail desired in the photograph. This requires knowing what the latitude of your film is. Latitude is how many stops of exposure you can have between highlights and shadows that will both contain details. It's greatest utility is with very high contrast scenes that exceed film latitude. The photographer must then decide what highlights, and/or shadows to give up details in. Spot metering various areas of different brightness in the scene is the only accurate method for doing this.

-- John

2/1/2002 9:27:08 PM

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Photography Question 
Roy Cordell

member since: 10/23/2001
  53 .  Why Use Film at a Speed Below Its ASA / ISO?
What would the purpose be in rating a film BELOW its ASA rating? For instance, some 400 speed films advertise themselves as perfoming well from 50 to 1200, but what would I gain by rating it below the recommended speed? I know that rating it higher will underexpose the film, create grainier images, but allow me to shoot in lower light situations. What would rating it lower give me?

10/23/2001 11:23:58 AM

Jeff S. Kennedy

member since: 3/4/2002
  First of all lets get some terms straight. When you rate a film at something other than its published speed you are typically only changing the ISO setting on your camera and not adjusting the development of the film. You can pull a film by rating it lower and adjusting it's processing time down and you can push a film by rating it higher and increasing it's processing.

Realistically, when you are rating a negative film at a lower speed, you will get acceptable results. Most negative films don't handle underexposure very well so rating a film above it's ISO (w/out push processing it) will seldom yield good results.

Now that we have that clear (as mud, right?), when you rate a film slower you will increase contrast, color saturation, and shadow detail. If you pull a film (works well for high contrast scenes) you get the opposite. You end up with less contrast. When you push a negative film you get increased contrast and grain. Of course these are general characteristics and results vary from film to film in terms of grain and color saturation and the limits to which you can push/pull.

10/23/2001 11:36:39 AM

Sherrie K. Miller

member since: 3/16/2002
  also with 400 you can take pic that are in motion with less blur am I correct?
also I want to ask about my camara I jst bought I am very very new and need all the info I can get... DID I make a good buy? I bought a Minolta max. 5 with AF 28 - 80 F3.5-5.6(D) with zoom lense an will get more as I progress in my quest to become a photographer.
any advise would be nice thank you!
Sherrie

3/17/2002 9:34:54 AM

Jordan 

member since: 12/5/2003
  Yes, with 400 speed film you should be able to get a faster shutter speed and thus it would be easier to a take a pic of something that is in motion without as much blur. As for the camera question, I use a Canon, so, sorry I couldn't help.

6/13/2004 10:26:31 AM

Tom Walker

member since: 3/12/2004
  As for the camera, any of the top companies and Minolta is one of them make fine cameras. If it's comfortable for you to shoot with you'll take more pics, if not, you'll take less, so it's a personal choice thing. As for the film, most mfr's round thier film speed up, the higher the ISO the greater the diff in actual speed and listed speed.
I set all my neg film at about 1/3 stop slowwer for this reason, and as someone else said, you get better color saturation

6/13/2004 11:21:48 AM

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Photography Question 
Jade Halcrow

member since: 10/19/2001
  54 .  Aperture Settings with My Dad's Pentax SF1
I'm a photography student at my school and I use my dad's camera. It's a Pentax SF1. I don't understand how to read the aperture setting for the manual part of the camera. Instead of coming up on the screen when I look through the lens as "2.4" or whatever setting I should have it at (like on my friends' cameras), it comes up on the shutter speed settings. I don't understand how to read this. If someone could please tell me how to work this so I know what to set the aperture to, that'd be awesome!

10/19/2001 7:53:56 PM

Jon Close
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 5/18/2000
  I'm not intimately familiar with the Pentax SF1, but I believe you read the aperture setting from an adjusting ring on the lens.

10/23/2001 4:06:16 PM

Charles W. Craft

member since: 4/1/2001
  Jon's right. You have to set (and read) the aperture from the aperture setting ring on the lens. With an "A" or later lens set in the "A" position (auto aperture) the SF-1 will display the automatically selected aperture on the LCD display. Once you go to manual aperture selection this is disabled (the LCD reads "F--") and you must use the lens ring.

10/25/2001 7:56:01 PM

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Photography Question 
Carmen 

member since: 10/10/2001
  55 .  Chart of Apertures and Shutter Speeds
I would like a chart or guideline of apertures and shutter speeds. I need it to briefly describe what effect each has when exposing the film. Does anyone know of such a resource?

10/10/2001 12:20:22 PM

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Photography Question 
Toll 

member since: 9/20/2001
  56 .  F/stop - What is That?
What is the meaning of the term "F/stop"?

9/20/2001 1:52:11 AM

Hermann  Graf

member since: 2/28/2001
  With f-stop, the size of the aperture (= lens opening, abbr. f) is meant. With most lenses, there are stops at the aperture ring when reaching full sizes, such as f = 1.4, 2.0, 2.8, 4.0, etc. With the aperture ring, one can alter the size continuously in manual operation. Increasing values mean decreasing openings, i.e., less incident light. Exactly spoken, the numbers are the ratios of the focal length and the effective diameter of the opening of the lens.

9/20/2001 4:05:24 AM

John Sandstedt
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 8/8/2001
  The f-number is the ration of the focal length of the lens to the widest opening of the shutter. For a 50 mm lens, about 2 inches, the shuter is about 1 inch. So, 2/1 = 2 [f/2].

This is a measure of the speed of the lens. There actually are f/1 lens [Canon made one] and, of course, many manufacturers make f/1.4 lenses.

Your lens probably has a number of stopping point [indents] at f-numbers such as f/2, f/3.5, f/4 f/5.6, f/6.3, f/8, f/11, f/16 and f/22. As you shift from one to another, you are "stopping down the lens. In fact, moving one stop, halves the amount of light allowed to reach the film plane.

You also adjust your speed starting at, let's say 1/2000th sec. Each "normal adjustment" downward [slower] allows more light to pass to the film plane.
Going from 1/25th to 1.125th doubles the amount of light.

Got the trend here? Set up a chart - starting at 1/1000 and going to 1 sec across the page. Then, on the next line put f/2 under 1/1000 and continue with the f-number sequence across the page. What you have created is one line of the Exposure Value Table. Any combination of f-number and speed will let in the same amount of light as any other combination on your chart.

The EV table is the basis of your camera's automatic metering system.

Hope this helps.

John

9/24/2004 1:26:46 PM

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Photography Question 
Lisa A. Miller

member since: 8/15/2001
  57 .  New Zoom Lens (Help!)
 
  My friends in lava lookout
My friends in lava lookout
Taken with zoom lens, 200 speed film around 2 o'clock
© Lisa A. Miller
 
  Little Three creek lake
Little Three creek lake
Taken in evening, but it was still very light out (6-ish), 400 speed film with zoom lens
© Lisa A. Miller
 
  Sisters
Sisters
Taken with zoom around 6 with 400 speed film, this picture had no problems except the haze over the mountains (same role as other 400 speed pictures)
© Lisa A. Miller
 
Hi... I've been learning how to use my Canon AE-1 program for the past year. I recently decided it was time to try a zoom lens. This lens is a 28-200mm Canon AE lens from Sears. I bought it off ebay so there were no papers or manual with it. My problem is that I don't know how to use it properly. I took two rolls with this lens and just got them back. Half the pictures were too light and the other half were too dark, a few looked good. I had the camera set on program and I think I had the lens on AE... but there are more settings than my original lens so I'm not sure what happened. It would be awesome if someone had any experience with a lens similar to this one or a manual, or if anyone has a zoom lens tips. I want to learn how to use the lens without using the AE program setting. But that's a whole nother story!
~Lisa

8/20/2001 9:23:20 PM

Ken Pang

member since: 7/8/2000
  Lisa,

I don't think the problem is with the lens. After all, there are very few ways you can actually use a Canon EF series lens - Focus and Zoom. Even Exposure is handled by the camera.

I actually have a Canon A2E, (EOS 5) so I don't have the exact settings on your camera, but it seems the problem you're having is that you're including two objects of very different exposure levels. This means that either the sky is going to be white, or the mountains are going to be black. And in this case, it seems that the mountains are black.

There are two solutions to that - both of them are really a cop out. One is to buy a film with a wider exposure latitude, but that usually means less contrasty. Fuji NPS (portraiture film) has a wide exposure latitude. This will not completely eliminate the problem. Even the best films only have an exposure latitude of 10 stops. IE, meter for the sky, meter for the mountain, if it's more than 10 stops apart, it's not going to capture detail in one of them.

The second one is to expose for the more important feature, and accept that the other is going to be featureless/under/overexposed. So if the blue sky is more important, keep it blue, and have a silhouetted mountain. If the mountain is more important, meter for it, and allow the sky to be whitish.

Hope this helps. Good luck with the learning!

Ken.


8/24/2001 2:05:40 AM

Lisa A. Miller

member since: 8/15/2001
  Actually, due to technical difficulties I didn't get the main pic I wanted up. I've never had a problem with contrasting lighting. Do you know what the CA setting on the lens might be? I think I had it on a wrong setting, nothing is wrong with the lens, don't get me wrong. I just don't know what I have to do special with a zoom lens. I need a manual, does anyone have a place where I could get one?

8/24/2001 3:24:39 AM

Ken Pang

member since: 7/8/2000
  That's odd. The Canon's idea of a lens is glass and motor... The only exceptions are Image Stabilising lenses...

I have no idea what the CA setting does, but I can't imagine it causing the problems you've had. (which, if you could be clearer with your complaints, perhaps we can address better) But that's mostly due to my presumption of Canon's minimalist approach.

Canon will send you a manual for $5 if you're in Australia. If you're not, contact your local Canon branch. In any case, People here at Canon North Ryde are always great whenever I've called them over the phone. Prompt, enthusiastic, helpful and accurate. Phone number is +61 2 9805 2000. I wouldn't think that you're in Australia, except that the photo of the 3 sisters looks familiar.

I guess my confusion is - with Canon lenses, all the control is on the camera! I can't see anything you can do wrong that wouldn't be blindingly obvious.

Let me know.

Ken


8/24/2001 3:38:50 AM

Jeff S. Kennedy

member since: 3/4/2002
  Hey! These shots were practically taken in my backyard! Are you a Central Oregonian?

Anyway, one of my first cameras was an AE1 (not the program though my Dad had one). First of all if you are shooting in Program mode the lens must be set to "A" (Canon lenses are marked "A" perhaps Sears lenses are marked "CA"). I wouldn't be surprised if a Sears lens was causing problems. They are not renowned for optic quality. But I suspect it has more to do with metering. The first shot is predominantly filled with black lava. Your meter read the lava and tried to make it 18% gray. The second shot, the meter exposed the sky correctly which was more brightly lit than Tam McArthur Rim so it came out underexposed. I think you just need to learn how to take better exposures. When I shot with my AE1 (since it has no spot meter) I found it best to meter off of my hand and open a stop. It is the same effect as metering a gray card. All you do is make sure the light falling on your hand is the same as that falling on your subject. Fill you viewfinder with your palm and take a reading. Open up one stop from that reading and you've got it. If you have any questions let me know. jeffsoni@earthlink.net

8/24/2001 11:50:01 AM

Mike 

member since: 8/11/2001
  If you need the manual for the AE-1 P, I can send a soft copy over in pdf format. A bit big, though....at about 2Mb. Mail me at hanafi21@tm.net.my

Regards,

Mike

8/24/2001 9:13:28 PM

John A. Lind
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 9/27/2001
  If the "CA" is on the aperture ring just past the highest f-number (f/22 ??), it's the setting you need to use for shutter priority AE mode and program mode. There may be a button you need to push to rotate the ring into this position. Canon's FD lenses have this feature to keep you from accidentally doing this when manually setting exposure.

In looking at your photos, all except the "Little Three Creek Lake" look to be about mid-day. I looked at the larger "Sisters" image to examine the shadows (length and direction) but the image was too small to tell for certain.

Some tips about lighting:
Good landscapes and scenics with a cloudless day are very dependent on light angle and direction. Usually this is early or late in the day with the sun just high enough to eliminate any obtrusively long shadows. Direction should be generally from behind you (in photos like these), but not directly behind you. Offset slightly from over either shoulder works better. Lower light angles put shadows more to the side instead of underneath. Frontal lighting brings the brightness of the scene closer to that of the sky and the offset provides slight side shadowing to bring out dimension and texture.

This is one of the reasons good landscapes are difficult. A perfect point of view may require waiting for a good time of day, or even time of year (daily light directions change with seasons), or it may be almost impossible during daytime (north facing scenes in the northern hemisphere come to mind).

High humidity on a hot day will cause visible "heat haze," the sky is darker blue opposite the sun, and horizons can be hazed by smog or dust, particularly in the afternoon. During mid-day with a very high sun, the sky can be pale in all directions. Next time you're out on a clear sky, take a good look at the sky in all directions early, mid-day and late. Distant haze is not unusual. Best season for deepest blue sky and the least atmospheric haze is usually during a cold Winter day with clear sky (no clouds). During other seasons, cooler drier weather following a storm front also has less haze.

You can get special effects such as sihlouettes with backlighting. Fog and severe haze can also be used for special effect to isolate pure shapes in light earth tones. Also, moonlit landscapes can sometimes work when sunlight doesn't.

-- John

8/25/2001 9:01:18 PM

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Photography Question 
Ujjwal Mukherjee
Contact Ujjwal
Ujjwal's Gallery

member since: 3/21/2001
  58 .  Photography on Snow/Sand
Hi!

This question is bugging me for a long time. When taking photo's on a bright snow covered mountain or bright sand it has been advised to increase the f-stop by 2 over the camera's reading and take the photo. Will someone please explain it with an exaxmple. Like if the camera reading of the view is f/11 and 1/125 for a 100 ISO film what changes need to be done to take the photo.

Will it be different if the background is clouded or dark. If yes what will be the setting for the same case.

8/8/2001 6:54:13 AM

Jeff S. Kennedy

member since: 3/4/2002
  This is a rule of thumb and like all rules of thumb it depends on a few factors. If your meter can take spot readings it becomes less critical to compensate.

For your example, if you are shooting a picture with a snow covered field and your meter is reading the whole area the snow will be the predominant feature. Your meter tells you the correct exposure to make the scene appear 18% gray. Of course the snow is white so this isn't what you want. So if the meter indicates f11 @ 1/125 you need to open up 2 stops to make the snow appear white. Something like f5.6 @ 1/125 or f11 @ 1/30.

If you can spot meter you can meter off of something in the scene that is 18% gray. In which case you need not compensate. When I take a reflective reading under these conditions I meter off of the palm of my hand (works with or without spot metering as long as your palm fills the frame) and open up 1 stop. But this really isn't any different than metering the snow and opening up two stops.

8/8/2001 11:51:24 AM

  Thanks a ton for the tip Jeff! One clarification related in making changes over camera's recommended meter reading: when I open up 2 stops or slow down by 1 or 2 stops, I 'll need to put my camera in manual mode and make the changes. I had experienced earlier that the camera'a exposure compensation meter starting giving signal of either over exposure or under exposure reading.

I assume in this also since I am opening up 2 stop's over it's recommended reading my camera's (Canon EOS Elan II) will probably indicate an overexposure. Should I go ahead and take the picture ignoring it?

The other clarification that I'll need if you can explain in details what is the 18% grey area of the scene.
Pls. forgive my ignorance.

8/9/2001 4:32:59 AM

Jeff S. Kennedy

member since: 3/4/2002
  Yes, since your camera's meter is trying to achieve 18% grey if you deviate from it's recommended exposure it will let you know that (in it's uneducated opinion) you are either over or underexposing the shot. Just ignore it and do what's right. Now you're a photographer and not a snap shooter!

18% grey takes some time to recognize. Basically, it is any tone in the scene that when shot in black and white will record as 18% gray. The color of it doesn't matter, just the tone. Is it necessary to always meter a mid tone (18% grey)? No. As in the example you can meter off of pure white and open up 2 stops. Or meter off of a white skin tone and open up one. Metering off of a mid tone is just convenient because you don't have to compensate.

8/9/2001 10:44:57 AM

Rob Kenning

member since: 6/16/2001
  One tip I can offer in the quest to simulate 18% grey cards is to use a typical newpaper. I have used this method quite successfully in the studio.

8/12/2001 6:26:10 AM

Jon Close
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 5/18/2000
  Note that opening 2 stops for a bright snow or white sandy beach scene and other exposure compensation rules of thumb are based on the common centerweighted average metering. The sophisticated algorithms used in multi-zone Canon Evaluative and Nikon Matrix metering (and Minolta, Pentax?) will attempt to make these exposure compensations automatically. For example: for bright scenes (above EV15) the Canon system will automatically add overexposure. See question http://bobatkins.com/photography/eosfaq/eosfaq24/0toc.html (Miscellany Q.20) and http://www.camera.canon.com.my/photography/art/art14/

8/20/2001 9:51:25 AM

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Photography Question 
Jason  Morgan

member since: 7/30/2001
  59 .  Easy Exposure Settings for Safari
Can you suggest a quick and simple way to ensure correct exposure? I use a fuly manual Pentax K1000. My main subjects will be wildlife (safari soon). At the moment I generally take a meter reading from grass or a similar tone and set my shutter and f number to suit, this seems to work quite well on most subjects. Should I then adjust the settings further for very light or dark subjects? I don't need to have perfectly exposed photos but I need them quite good so that I can use them for references to my paintings. All help appreciated.

8/7/2001 2:54:34 PM

Piper Lehman
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 7/20/2001
  Jason,

Check out Kodak's website and do a search in their library of info. They have at least one chart that lists their suggested exposures for existing light photos for both negative and slide films. You can download this chart in PDF for printing. Not sure, but this is the address I have as a header on my printout: www.kodak.com/global/en/consumer/products/techInfo/ac61/

8/7/2001 5:43:39 PM

John A. Lind
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 9/27/2001
  Jason,
The link PC provided is a good one for estimating "available light" exposures for indoor and night photography.

For outdoor daylight exposure estimating, see this Q/A thread from a while ago. It contains details about the "sunny-16" rule. Note that the examples in it are based on ISO 100 film and you need to adjust for the film speed you are using.

Also . . . Kodak prints exposure recommendations on the inside of their film boxes and all the major film manufacturers have similar information in the data sheet for the film. These data sheets are available online at the Kodak, Fuji, Agfa and Ilford Web sites. Sometimes you have to poke around a little to find them, but they're there.

-- John

8/7/2001 8:32:58 PM

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Photography Question 
Mike Turner

member since: 3/16/2001
  60 .  Moon Photography
I want to take a good picture of the moon. I have two questions.

1.) Previously, I have taken pictures using 400 speed film, 75-300mm telephoto lense, and Canon Rebel 2000. The pictures have come out grainy (not enough light) even though I have the lowest aperture (5.6). Some come out OK but are still grainy. I have also went +/- 1 f-stop, still grainy. I also receive a moon-spot (like a sun spots). What would cause this? How would I prevent against it? I am going to go to 800 or higher speed film next. I think that will help a lot.

2.) Also, even the pictures that are real good still have the moon over-exposed. How would I capture the moon's craters and indentations, being so bright, when it's framed against the dark night sky? Does that make sense?

Thanks in advance,
Mike
P.S. I don't have a scanner, but will send them once I can get them scanned.

8/6/2001 4:44:22 PM

Jeff S. Kennedy

member since: 3/4/2002
  The tricky part of photographing the moon is that, generally speaking, your surroundings are dark and the moon is a sunlit object. There isn't a film made that can handle that contrast. Since the moon is a sunlit object, to expose it correctly you must follow the Sunny 16 rule. In other words, use a shutter speed that is equivalent to the film ISO (ISO400 film = 1/500th ; ISO800 = 1/750th or 1/1000th if your camera doesn't have 1/750th) and an aperture of f16. Some prefer to open a stop (f11) so experiment and see what you like.

There are a few of ways to have a properly exposed moon within the context of a properly exposed landscape. One is to make a double exposure. You shoot the moon on a frame and then shoot the landscape (or sky) on that same frame exposing for each seperately. Another method that works when the sky isn't completely dark is to use a graduated neutral density filter to bring the exposure of the moon down a few stops. And of course the modern way is to digitally add the moon to whatever shot you want.

8/6/2001 7:42:59 PM

Mike Turner

member since: 3/16/2001
  Jeff,

First, what are you doing there at almost 8:00pm. Go home - enjoy life. Just kidding, I didn't mean to keep you there at work. Thanks for the tips. I think I will try the double exposure. I have been wanting a reason to mess around with that function. I probably need to learn more about filters too. I guess what I am saying is thanks for the ideas (except for the digital option - that's cheating) and for staying late to answer my question.

Take care & blessings,
Mike

-----

Proverbs 3:1-2
(1) My son, forget not my law; but let your heart keep my commandments;
(2) for they shall add length of days, and long life, and peace to you.

8/6/2001 10:09:54 PM

John A. Lind
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 9/27/2001
 
 
  Crescent Moon
Crescent Moon
Many shoot a full moon. A crescent can bring out the dimensions of the mountains and craters even though it's only a sliver.
 
 
A couple of tips and some information in addition to what Jeff has provided:

a. It takes about a 1200mm lens to fill a 35mm film frame with the moon. You can use this to gauge how big the moon will be in the photograph based on the focal length you use.

b. Be cautious about using long shutter speeds. The moon is orbiting and the earth rotating under it. The combined motion will blur the moon if your shutter speed is too long. The longer the focal length used, the more pronounced the effect. At 600mm I was continuously having to reposition the camera between frames made about a minute apart. Note its direction of motion in the viewfinder and frame slightly ahead of where it will be, then wait until it's in position. I try to keep shutter speed at 1/30th with 600mm. Slower risks blurring.

c. If it's a half-moon or crescent moon, you will need slightly more exposure, as the moon is sidelighted by the sun. However, you shouldn't need much more than about one stop more even with a crescent.

d. A crescent, although only a sliver, shows the dimensional quality of the mountains and craters that are illuminated, because of the sidelighting. Don't discount shooting a crescent moon some time. I've uploaded one I made about a year or so ago using a 600mm lens. Image is cropped to make it about twice the size of the full frame.

BTW, I'm writing this from home. :-)

-- John

8/7/2001 1:30:49 AM

Jeff S. Kennedy

member since: 3/4/2002
  If you follow the Sunny 16 rule you shouldn't have a significant problem with the moon blurring since your shutter speed will be matching your ISO (unless you are shooting 25 or 50 speed film).

BTW my studio's in my home so I'm never (or always I guess) late at the office. ;-)))

8/7/2001 11:10:38 AM

John A. Lind
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 9/27/2001
  Yes, should have realized that (was thinking about the slow ISO 64 film I use with apertures that put shutter speeds near the edge of blur).

Here's some additional recommendations from Kodak for exposure settings for other than full moons (just found these this evening on Kodak's site):

a. Full: same exposure as any fully sunlit subject ("sunny 16" as Jeff mentioned).
b. Gibbous (halfway between full and half): requires 1 stop more exposure than a full moon.
c. Half: requires 2 stops more exposure than a full moon.
d. Crescent (halfway between half and new): requires 3-1/2 stops more exposure than a full moon.

I do recall having to make exposures longer for other than full moons, but don't recall having to correct by quite this much, especially for a crescent. For other than full, I recommend bracketing exposure with several shots. My first attempt at a crescent moon used the same exposure as for a full one and was very underexposed.

-- John

8/7/2001 11:07:06 PM

Jeff S. Kennedy

member since: 3/4/2002
  It did occur to me that if you were to use the GNDF method you would run into longer exposure times. So it is something to consider.

8/8/2001 12:13:11 AM

Mike Turner

member since: 3/16/2001
  You guys are a wealth of information. Thank you very much. John your picture of the cresent moon made me appreciate them very much. Before I was only interested in full moons but now they all capture my attention. Thanks again to you both Jeff and John.


P.S. Do you have any tips on how I could avoid getting moon spots?
--Mike

8/8/2001 10:53:03 AM

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