Howling at the moon

by alec on May 29, 2007

 It was a near full moon tonight, so after a quick dip in the pool I grabbed my tripod and camera and shot a few pictures of the moon with my long lens.  On the automatic settings on the D50, it just produced an overexposed white disc, but after stopping the camera down 5 (!) I managed to capture some detail.  This photograph is a cropped image taken with a 300mm lens at full extension.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Brad Templeton May 29, 2007 at 10:12 pm

Exposing the moon is in theory easy — it is an object in bright sunlight! In other words it is correctly exposed with sunny 16.

However, the moon, as it turns out, is made of very dark dust and rock. It only looks bright white to us because we see it when everything else around is dark. Even the white parts are darker than a gray card. So you expose it a stop or two brighter than for sunny/16.

But this is why it's so hard to shoot night shots with the moon in the and get anything but an overexposed moon, except during an eclipse:

Or when the moon is just rising and we see it through the whole atmosphere.


jules May 30, 2007 at 1:47 am

Nicely done!
I've been struggling with moon shots too – i've now got my tripod at the back door, ready to go, just in case ;-)


Alec May 30, 2007 at 2:48 am

Makes sense Brad. I've become so dependent on the automatic settings on the camera that it never occurred to me to go back to the basics of sunny/16. Got a couple more days to try it before it's a true full moon, if the weather cooperates.

Good luck Jules!


MGU May 30, 2007 at 1:12 pm

Alec, Brilliant, I reckon, but then, I'm your Dad.


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