Learning to Shoot the Moon - Sandra McDowell Photography


The Challenge

Getting a more defined moon into my shoots.


What I learned

Getting the foreground and  the moon both properly exposed in the one take is difficult.  Exposing for the moon will make the foreground dark; exposing for the foreground will make the moon too bright.  The dynamic range of my camera will not allow me to get the image I desire in camera, in one take. Therefore I really need to :

1. Shoot the moon to get good definition.

2. Separately shoot the foreground.

3. Merge the two images together.

1. The Looney 11 Rule to get a sharp correctly exposed image.

The moon moves faster than you think therefore requires a faster shutter speed than you would expect for a night shot. On researching I discovered the   Looney 11 Rule  to help improve the image. Setting the camera as follows:

1. Camera in manual mode,

2. ISO Low (100), 

3. Aperture f11,

4. Shutter speed 1/120 sec

I took a series of several pictures, reviewing after each image and making adjustments as I learned more.  The initial images were completely black and this taught me . . . .

2. The importance of focal length.

The maximum focal length I have available is 400mm (150mm on m4/3 sensor with 1.4 converter).  Ideally I'd like to have had a minimum of 600mm.  That's an experiment of the future when I extend my lens collection.

28mm, 50mm, 100mm, 400mm

3. How to merge moon into foreground image.

I  took some images of the foreground, ensuring I had the moon in the picture.  The moon in the foreground pictures will be blown out and therefore needs to be replaced by the more defined moon of the previous images. Below are the youtube tutorials I used to create my composite images.

Add the moon to an image.

Creating a supermoon composite image.

Feedback welcome

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