The Challenge : Better defined moon.


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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 and  in one take; therefore shoot the moon  and the foreground separately.

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.

50mm, 100mm, 400mm, 800mm


3. Focus Stack for Maximum Definition

A year after my first experiments with shooting the moon I invested in a 300mm lens.  On my micro 4/3 camera this gives me a focal length of 600 but  paired with my 1.4 converter brings me closer to the 800mm range.   I couldn't wait to see the results, and was surprised at my disappointment.

It didn't take  too long to figure out the problem was  a single image couldn't bring the depth of field needed.  I had previously learned about my camera's ability to do focus stacking and knew to give this a try. I set the camera up to take 8 images in quick succession and adjusting the focus point on each take.

With now having eight images I needed to merge, this was beyond what I could do in Lightroom and had to resort to Photoshop to provide the solution.  Not being well versed in Photoshop the following videos helped.

Single Photograph

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1. Moon Stacking (Take One) , but if the photos won't auto align in Photoshop then use next video.

2. Moon Stacking (Take Two)

Once the images where stacked into one image and returned back into Lightroom, the following is the best tutorial I found to help you edit your new image to bring out the detail.

How to edit the moon in Lightroom

Focus Stacked

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4. 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 image.

Adding moon to landscapes (my preferred video)

Add the moon to an image.

Creating a supermoon composite image.

Feedback welcome

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