Seeking advice for moonset photography

Discussion in 'Digital Cameras' started by Paul Ciszek, Jul 20, 2011.

  1. Paul Ciszek

    Paul Ciszek Guest

    If my calculations are correct, I have the opportunity to photograph
    the moon setting directly behind Mt. Evans mere minutes before sunrise
    from Capitol Hill in Denver on August 13th. I intend to use my Lumix
    FZ35 with a teleconverter that gives it the equivalent of a 826mm
    focal length if it were a 35mm, which it isn't. If you are interested,
    here is a picture I took of *just* the moon using the same setup:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/4305983982/in/set-72157623129010923

    I somehow calculated exposure time and aperture for that photo, but I
    have long since forgotten how I did it. Anyway, for my moonset shot,
    I *could* let the FZ35 figure out everything for itself--it's a pretty
    smart camera--or I could select certain parameters and let the camera
    figure out the rest. For example, I was thinking of selecting a "film
    speed" of 100; would you recommend anything different for an almost
    daylit moonset shot? I figure I could use up to an eighth of a second
    exposure and the moon shouldn't have time to move more than one pixel;
    should I use all the time available, or go faster?
     
    Paul Ciszek, Jul 20, 2011
    #1
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  2. Paul Ciszek

    otter Guest

    If you let the camera figure it out, might be hit or miss, since the
    moon is just a small part of the scene. I would opt for manual
    settings, with exposure bracketing if your camera can do that.
    Shooting the moon is almost like shooting broad daylight. There is a
    "Sunny 16" rule that you can use to get close to the right exposure.
    Since you are shooting near moonset, it will be darker, so adjust
    accordingly. Probably should bracket exposures and check on the LCD
    screen to see if is right.

    Another issue is dynamic range. If you get the exposure right for the
    moon, everything else will be dark. You probably will need to take
    two (or more) shots at different exposures and then merge them in
    post.

    The moon travels very fast, so the shorter the exposure, the less
    blurry the picture for the shots of the moon itself.

    I would practice ahead of time at least once or twice at moonset
    time. Sure the phase of the moon will be different, and the
    background, too, but you will learn a lot from those practice
    sessions. One of the practice sessions should be the night before the
    event, so the moon is very close to the right phase, and you can
    figure out the exposures to use the next night.

    Hopefully the weather cooperates.
     
    otter, Jul 20, 2011
    #2
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  3. Paul Ciszek

    M-M Guest


    The setting moon is completely different from the moon high up in the
    sky. High up it is as bright as daylight, but setting it can be as dim
    as night.

    If the mountain is tall and the moon is still high up in the sky as it
    disappears behind it, you might have a chance but you will not get both
    the mountain and the moon exposed. Either the moon will be properly
    exposed and the mountain will be just a silhouette or the moon will be
    overexposed to get the mountain.

    Here is a small Quicktime movie I made from stills at Zion Nat'l park,
    done @1500mm:

    http://www.netaxs.com/~mhmyers/d80/1-20.mov

    If the moonset is near the horizon, you can get them both exposed since
    the moon will be very dim through the atmosphere but it will blur from
    the long exposure and the earth's movement.

    You can do it with 2 shots, one for the mountain and one for the moon
    and superimpose them.
     
    M-M, Jul 20, 2011
    #3
  4. Paul Ciszek

    Paul Ciszek Guest

    I will probably lean towards an overexposed moon. It would be great if
    it worked out so that moonset was a few minutes *after* sunrise instead
    of a few minutes before, but you take what you can get. The next day
    the moon sets quite a bit later so that it will be harder to see in the
    bright sky, and at an azimuth for which I can't make it line up with
    any feature I'm interested in.
    Can't make Quicktime work from the machine I am on right now; I'll
    have to look at it later. Thank you.
    What can I say? Getting set up before 6AM and catching the shot "for
    real" is part of the fun. I prefer manual transmission, too. Go figure.
     
    Paul Ciszek, Jul 20, 2011
    #4
  5. Paul Ciszek

    Robert Coe Guest

    : If my calculations are correct, I have the opportunity to photograph
    : the moon setting directly behind Mt. Evans mere minutes before sunrise
    : from Capitol Hill in Denver on August 13th. I intend to use my Lumix
    : FZ35 with a teleconverter that gives it the equivalent of a 826mm
    : focal length if it were a 35mm, which it isn't. If you are interested,
    : here is a picture I took of *just* the moon using the same setup:
    :
    : http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/4305983982/in/set-72157623129010923
    :
    : I somehow calculated exposure time and aperture for that photo, but I
    : have long since forgotten how I did it. Anyway, for my moonset shot,
    : I *could* let the FZ35 figure out everything for itself--it's a pretty
    : smart camera--or I could select certain parameters and let the camera
    : figure out the rest. For example, I was thinking of selecting a "film
    : speed" of 100; would you recommend anything different for an almost
    : daylit moonset shot? I figure I could use up to an eighth of a second
    : exposure and the moon shouldn't have time to move more than one pixel;
    : should I use all the time available, or go faster?

    Go as fast as you can. My limited experience photographing moonsets suggests
    that
    1) you can get away with a shorter exposure than you may think, and
    2) that "one pixel" of motion can sure as hell show as blur.

    Bob
     
    Robert Coe, Jul 21, 2011
    #5
  6. Paul Ciszek

    RichA Guest

    1. Wait for a dawn where the air is still and humid, it means "seeing
    conditions" will likely be good.
    2. Try not to shoot over buildings, roads as the release heat trapped
    in the daytime causing heat waves that blur images.
    3 Shoot lots of shots as fast as possible at the fastest shutter
    speed that is practical.
    4. Expose for the moon, add about 1 stop.
    5. Shoot from a high location to get a decent background.

    http://www.pbase.com/andersonrm/image/84768839
     
    RichA, Jul 21, 2011
    #6
  7. Paul Ciszek

    Ray Fischer Guest

    You'll have many minutes to experiment as the moon is setting.
    See what works. Bracket.
     
    Ray Fischer, Jul 21, 2011
    #7
  8. Paul Ciszek

    John Turco Guest


    A nice picture, there; it reminds me of some shots I snapped, half
    a decade ago.

    I'd bought a Kodak "P850" digicam (5 megapixels, 12x optical zoom),
    in May of 2006. My first use of it, was on July 5th of that year.

    Among my 93 images (and one brief movie clip) was a series of 22
    moon photos. (Similar to yours, except in a 3/4 phase.) It was a
    bright evening (still light), in Omaha, Nebraska.

    I experimented with the P850's manual settings, trying to get
    a proper exposure of the difficult subject. My best effort and
    its selected EXIF info, are listed below:

    100_0094.JPG (580KB)

    Make EASTMAN KODAK COMPAMY
    Model KODAK P80 ZOOM DIGITAL CAMERA
    Original date and time Wednesday, July 05, 2006 9:15:04 PM
    Pixel height 1944
    Pixel width 2592
    Exposure program Manual
    Exposure mode Manual exposure
    Exposure time 1/400 second
    F number 3.7
    Lens aperture F/3.6 (3.70)
    Max aperture F/3.6 (3.70)
    Shutter speed 1/405 sec. (8.66)
    Focal length 72.0 mm
    Focal length in 35mm 432 mm
    Flash used Yes
    ISO speed 100
    White balance Auto

    Oh, so, you're wondering why flash was utilized It was my debut
    with the P850, and I needed to become better acquanted with it,
    before making the correct adjustments.

    (The flash was enabled on the initial 14 of the pix in question,
    and off for the final 8.)

    Anyway...good luck, in your own lunar quest!
     
    John Turco, Jul 24, 2011
    #8
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